There are many studies supporting the importance of having regular family dinners and the positive impact it has on kids emotionally, mentally, and physically. Research has linked family mealtime to better eating habits, lowered rates of substance abuse, teen pregnancy, and depression, and higher academic performance.
For moms who work outside the home, dinnertime is a big challenge. On average many working parents have only a precious two-hour window to prepare meals, eat dinner, clean up, help the kids with homework, bathe them, and put their kids to sleep. Before you feel like a parenting failure, here are tips to make family meal time happen:
It's no secret that Sheryl Sandberg, current COO of Facebook, leaves the office nearly every evening at 5:30 to make it home for dinner with her kids. She would get back to work after her kids are asleep and wake up early before everyone to respond to emails. While this may not be a feasible option for every woman or man, there shouldn't be a stigma of leaving work early to get home for dinner with your kids and spouse. Being committed to your profession doesn't mean putting in long hours in the office, instead employers should recognize the drive for efficiency and focus.
Put your fear aside, negotiate a schedule with your bosses, suggest a trial period, and prove that you can still get the job done. Thanks to technology, people can be accessible anytime and anywhere away from the office.
Here are some tips to save time:
- Keep dinner simple and healthy during the week. Focus on just the main course if that is what time allows you.
- Save time by doubling up on meal preparation during the weekend and freezing leftovers for the weekday.
- Schedule grocery shopping once a month or bi-weekly.
- Enlist help from kids & spouse. Husband is great at the grill or kids can help make a simple salad?
- Invest in a crock-pot and a good cookbook
- Make breakfast for dinner
- Make friends with the family pack and portion up servings into zip-top freezer bag
Remember Quality over Quantity
So you really can't make daily dinners happen, don't beat yourself up, but instead do what works for your family. A stressful, chaotic dinner is not the right environment to relax and reconnect with your kids. You can try coming together at breakfast, have weekend dinners, or even enjoy an evening snack together. The important factor is to have regular, communication with your kids. Remove distractions (TV, phone, computer) and ask your children about their day, school, friends, goals, etc…
What are some other things you do to get the family together?
Sophia Kim is a working mom with years of experience in the advertising industry. She truly loves her job and loves being a mom x2 more. As if managing a career and family isn't enough, she has taken up writing a blog instead of sleeping! BreakingCubes was born in her desire to connect with and support other working moms. With a daughter of her own, Sophia is passionate about the advancement of women in the workplace, achieving balance in their homes, and being heard in their communities.
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