When Eating Dinner Together Seems Impossible, Try These Tips

If you’ve tackled the question of, ‘What’s for dinner?’ you might still have one big dilemma, ‘When’s dinner?’  Family meals are not easy to squeeze into today’s busy family calendar.  We have long work hours, long commutes, kids going in multiple extracurricular directions, and if there’s room, we might grab a date night or enjoy a hobby of our own.  Assembling everyone together can be like gathering butterflies.  Sometimes it just seems easier to give into the chaos and let our families eat when they can.

Why protect the family dinner hour?

Consider this:  “study after study shows that the more often families eat together, the less likely the kids are to smoke, drink, do drugs, get depressed, develop
eating disorders, become overweight, and consider suicide—and the more likely they are to eat their vegetables, know which fork to use, learn big words, do well in school, feel that their parents love them, an delay having sex.  And that’s just for starters” (The Hour that Matters Most, p. 19).

I need help!

Don’t give up before you start.  Make a plan and do what you can.

  • Be Pro-active.  Find your best days and book family meals on your calendar.
  • Communicate so the whole family saves the dates. Share your values and priorities.
  • Flex it.  Late dinners are the only time that works for everyone?  Plan an early snack to tide the kids over so you can all eat dinner together later.
  • Think outside the box.  Plan a breakfast together if dinner doesn’t work, enjoy a special restaurant dessert lingering over hot beverages, or bring a lunch to the sports field and eat picnic style between games.
  • Persevere.  Dad’s stuck in traffic, you have to work late, the football game went over-time…life is unpredictable.  Be realistic, our best laid plans get foiled from time to time, but, keep trying!

Remember, if having family meals together now is challenging, they aren’t going to improve on their own.  Lind up with a friend who wants to prioritize them too an share tips, encouragement and accountability  You can do it!

Growing families one meal at a time,


olivia and stephanieStephanie Allen is Co-founder and President of Dream Dinners and a New York Times best-selling co-author of The Hour that Matters Most. Naturally a visionary and optimist, Stephanie hopes to inspire America through her nurturing voice of encouragement, assuring families…    

“You’re doing a great job!”