This weekend, we went out to a restaurant as a family, with our son, for an early dinner. The process of dinner out with him is always a crap shoot. Some questions cross my mind as we settle into the table. Will he be entertained enough to stay in the high chair for an hour? Will he eat the restaurant food or will we have to use our backup stash? Will he be fussy? Will my wife & I have to eat in shifts?
In comparison, the dinner process is usually much easier at home. We frequently feed our son at 6:30 pm. Most of the time, my wife & I are both on-hand to take part in my son’s daily dinner routine. We talk, we laugh, he feeds us some of his food, some gets thrown on the floor, we watch to see what foods he enjoys and the foods he rejects. Some courses he likes being fed by us and some courses he insists to feed himself. I get mystified how he can love a food so much one day and want nothing to do with it the next. We enjoy watching him eat dinner, but we rarely eat dinner at the same time. As many parents can relate, we prefer to have a quiet & relaxed dinner after he goes down to sleep for the night.
All of this talk about dinner with kids was inspired by a thought-provoking article I read over the weekend: The Guilt-Trip Casserole by Jan Hoffman of the NY Times. The article focuses on the importance of families eating dinner together every night, and mentions the many challenges & stresses to achieving that goal. Surely, this article will resonate with any parent, especially those with teenagers. I am unsure of what the future holds for our family dinners, but at least we are headed on a positive track.
I am wondering what other families do to achieve eating a family dinner together every night…