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Eating as a family
What time?

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#1 SheSaid

Posted 18 November 2012 - 08:03 PM

Hi Guys,

I keep reading about how you should eat dinner with your toddler...my question is how do you fit it in? I mean, what time do you have dinner with your little one/ones? Do you give them a little snack or some milk beforehand to tie them over? Do you cook as soon as you get home from work or prep the night before?

My DS currently has dinner at 5pm - which is as soon as we walk in the door! If I don't get him dinner as soon as we get home he is not a happy chappy sad.gif

At the moment his routine after daycare is:
- 5pm: dinner
- 6pm: bath
- 6.30pm: bottle
- 7pm: brush teeth and bed

I tend to cook and eat dinner myself after he goes to bed at 7pm. I work fulltime, hubby works away for 3 weeks at a time and I don't have any family support where I am living (as they are all 3 hours away).

Any tips and ideas would be awesome original.gif

#2 imamumto3

Posted 18 November 2012 - 08:08 PM

we all eat at about 6pm.  we have afternoon tea after school, so about 3:30.  the kids usually snack on veggies while I'm preparing them for dinner.  I'm a sahm so I prepare casseroles or veggies fir stir fries during the day, for grills or pasta I start preparing about 5:15.

eta. does the daycare give a late snack?  ours did sandwich quarters at about 4:45 - 5:00pm and it seemed to hold the kids over until I was able to get dinner prepared

Edited by imamumto3, 18 November 2012 - 08:10 PM.

#3 NotBitzerMaloney

Posted 18 November 2012 - 08:13 PM

I simply found it was not possible until my DS was older. And even then it involved me eating earlier than I might like.
He was probably three and a half before his bedtime correlated with a meal time that meant we could eat together. I tried giving a snack and then a later dinner, but by then he was full from the snack and wouldn't eat dinner or would be grumpy and falling asleep at the table
I was - and am - happy to believe that sitting there and chatting with him was the most important part of the "eating as a family" thing.

#4 Dionysus

Posted 18 November 2012 - 08:15 PM

we eat at 5:30 - DD is 3 years old.

It works for us, DH and I are both home from work at 5

#5 123tree

Posted 18 November 2012 - 08:18 PM

I would eat steamed veggies with my kids at 5pm and they would have their veggies with meat.  Or if we had stir fry or something i would have a small bowl about the same size as their serve.  

Hubby was never home from work before eight so we would eat together then.  So essentially I was having a second dinner.  But two small ones.

It also made it easier because I would be gnawing my own arm off some nights by eight and digging into chocolate or other things my body didn't need.

#6 Duck-o-lah

Posted 18 November 2012 - 08:20 PM

For us it's just not possible most of the time. DS and I get home from daycare and work at about 5. DH doesn't get out of bed until 6-6.30 (night worker), which is when I start getting DS settled for bed. I'm looking forward to when DS is older and can stay up later, that's the only way I can see us being able to do it.

#7 Covert

Posted 18 November 2012 - 08:22 PM

DS has just turned 2 years old and our routine for the last 6 months has been:-

5pm - Bath
6pm - Dinner as a family
6.30pm - wind down and watch the Night Garden (OMG I hate that show!!!)
7pm - Teeth, book and bed.

He has afternoon tea around 3.30pm to tide him over.

#8 BrindleGirl

Posted 18 November 2012 - 08:23 PM

We don't eat as a family.

I think you just do what works for you. I wouldn't stress too much about it. I think what is most important is your children receiving love and a healthy meal. Not who or what a child eats with.

#9 sparkles30

Posted 18 November 2012 - 08:26 PM

We usually eat dinner together around 5.-5.30pm. But the kids get a snack just before bed (fruit/milk etc), and I have some sort of snack/meal about 7.30pm after they have gone to bed. I don't feel like cooking again after they have gone to bed, but find 5pm is too early to have the last meal of the day. The post-dinner snack seems to get us all through until morning.

#10 Vickery

Posted 18 November 2012 - 08:38 PM

Our small children always ate at 5pm - with bedtime looming, any later than that was too late for them to eat dinner.  DH and I ate at 7pm, after they had gone to bed.  It's only in the last few months (kids now aged 4, 6 and 8) that we have moved dinner time to 6pm and we all eat together.

#11 wrena

Posted 18 November 2012 - 08:44 PM

We eat at 5.30 which is pretty much as soon as DH gets through the door. I used to be amazed when friends with kids ate so early but I really love it and find that eating early really suits my body. Eating together as a family is pretty important to us

#12 Lucygoosey1

Posted 18 November 2012 - 11:10 PM

We eat around 5:30pm as a family.  We all eat the same and my DD's are 1 & 2. I work 2 days a week,  and on those days I've pre-prepared casserole, home made pizza, or a pasta dish so the final prep is only 10 mins to get it on the table.  Once you are eating the same food it's way easier.

#13 Bottom

Posted 18 November 2012 - 11:16 PM

My 2 year old and I eat at 5.30 ish. I prepare things the night before, when he is in bed, then it only take me five or ten mins to get organized at dinner time. We've been eating together since he was a baby- even before solids he would be at the table with me:) . We are only a family of two, but I love our meal times together as a family and so does my little boy. On Saturday nights we have a picnic on the lounge floor- but still eat together.

#14 Natttmumm

Posted 19 November 2012 - 09:41 AM

other than weekends its just not possible for us to do that. I give DD1 and DD2 (ages 3 and 5) dinner when we get home from work at 5:30pm - they are cranky and hungry. Its always something I have cooked the night before. I do sometimes eat with them but I find it chaotic and much easier if I focus on them eating and eat later. DH gets home at 6:45 so its too late for them as they go to bed at 7. He eats straight away and they often want a bit of his dinner too which he is fine with. we do all eat the same food most of the time and I have been making an effort to get them to eat a wide variety

on weekends if we are home we try to all eat dinner at the table together but again it can be chaotic and not worth it. DD1 is old enough to sit and eat nicely and does really well. DD2 still causes a lot of trouble at this time and rolls ont he floor, refuses to eat at times, tips her plate etc. Hoping once she is a bit older we can eat together more.

#15 Holidayromp

Posted 19 November 2012 - 09:45 AM

We don't eat together as a family - it just doesn't work for us.  However the kids eat together with adult supervision.

#16 Ally'smum

Posted 19 November 2012 - 09:49 AM

DD has a small dinner/snack at 5pm and then will have some with us again at 6pm.

Then it is about 20 mins of ABC2, then teeth, get changed, books and lights out by 7.20/7.30,

We just want to establish the routine of sitting together every night for dinner, even if she only lasts 5 minutes before she wants to get out of the highchair.

#17 Freddie'sMum

Posted 19 November 2012 - 09:49 AM

When the girls were still baby / toddler - I did not try and do the "family eats dinner together" routine.

I always fed them dinner at 5pm, bath at 5.30p and generally into bed between 6pm and 6.30pm.

We still don't eat all together even though they are much older now - I now aim for a 6pm dinner time and most nights, DH isn't home from work.  We do sit down in the w/ends and eat as a family (again around that 6pm / 6.30pm time).

I wouldn't get too worked up about the whole family eating together - most little kids need to have their dinner at 5pm(ish) and most working parents aren't even home by then - so nothing to get worked up about.  DH would always be up and about in the mornings with the girls - so got to do the breakfast thing with them.

#18 kpingitquiet

Posted 19 November 2012 - 09:56 AM

I'm home so she and I eat every meal together at the table. But as for all three of us it works out pretty easily. It just depends on work schedules, really.

She gets a fruit snack at 4pmish.
Husband gets home at 430pm but occasionally closer to 5pm.
They head to the playground or do some random stuff. I start cooking dinner around 530pm
Dinner with all three of us together btw 6 and 630pm.
Playtime til 715 or so followed by bath and cuddle/storytime.
Bed at around 8pm.

We've eaten together since she was old enough for us to pull her swing or bassinet up to the table to keep us company.

#19 peking homunculus

Posted 19 November 2012 - 09:58 AM

Eating as a family is very important to us. My kids are 9, 7 and almost 3. We eat together at about 6:30pm. Sometimes the LO gets hungry before this and in that case I give him an apple or other piece of fruit or a piece of cheese

I find dinner is the meal he is least interested in so he just sits with us and picks a little bit.

Ideally, he'd eat earlier, but he's part of a family and we all have to make compromises to fit in with each other

#20 Blossom73

Posted 19 November 2012 - 10:12 AM

We try and eat together as a family - we were having lots of issues with food with DS prior to starting this and a book I was recommended (Child of Mine) suggested family meal times to help.

So far it has worked wonders with DS' eating, but dinner is the time of day where DS (now 21 months) is perhaps not as interested in food, so he may just seat and graze with us.

I get home with DS from day care at 5:30 pm, and usually have prepped dinner for cooking the night before or we are having left overs or something easy like pasta. Sometimes DH is late home from work, so he does not make dinner at 6 pm, so I eat with DS, and DH eats later.

DS gets what we are eating or a version of it plus there is always bread and milk for him to eat if he does not want what is for dinner (also recommended by this book). Having things this way is much less stressful for me, and makes us all happier.

#21 Feral-as-Meggs

Posted 19 November 2012 - 11:08 AM

I'm a single mum so there's usually no-one to eat with later, so I usually eat with my DS (13 mo).  He eats a lot better that way.

On daycare days we usually walk through the door at 5.30, and I pop him straight in the highchair with something to munch on that takes a lot of effort but doesn't fill him up or make a huge mess (like a piece of sourdough bread, fresh peas or cherry tomatoes, a whole apple etc).   He's usually happy enough to watch me scurry around and make dinner.

I usually have something fresh or frozen from a home day to microwave, or something in the slow cooker, or something really quick to cook (like fish fillets or sausages or pasta) with steamed veggies.   I cheat and use those frozen veggies which steam in the microwave in a few minutes.  You can stir through a bit of persian feta or creme fraiche for a nice sauce.

Fresh fruit and natural yoghurt for dessert.

I try to get dinner on the table by 545.  Then he has a little play while I clear up, story at 620, bath at 630, BF and bed at 700.

It works for us.  I find if I don't eat with him I can't be bothered making anything decent at 730 and just eat toast or biscuits or other rubbish.

I confess that if I have dinner plans or can't be bothered cooking and want Thai delivery he gets my go-to emergency dinner which is Rafferty's veggie pasta with frozen peas and frozen Ikea meatballs.  Its actually his favourite but I feel guity.

Edited by meggs1, 19 November 2012 - 11:10 AM.

#22 ScarfaceClaw

Posted 19 November 2012 - 11:18 AM

We've eaten as a family since the get go. We eat somewhere between 5.30-6pm mostly. He's now 18 months. At the moment he doesn't generally have lunch until 2ish, as he naps from 11-2.
He has a breast feed and a snack around 4ish, this seems to work for him.

Sometimes he's super hungry by 6, sometimes he's fine either way.

#23 bikingbubs

Posted 19 November 2012 - 11:23 AM

We eat as a family at 5:30.  It took some adjusting for us initially, but now its just what we do original.gif

#24 laridae

Posted 19 November 2012 - 11:38 AM

We eat together at about 6:30pm ish.
DD and I get home (me from work, her from daycare) about 5:30-5:45pm.
If its my turn to cook I get stuck straight into that while DH looks after her, if its DHs turn he will sometime have started cooking already (he gets home at 3:30pm), but mostly he waits until I get home and ask him whats for dinner (so annoying that he can't do it without being prompted - we take turns so every second day, its not that hard to work out its his turn!).
DD will usually gave some milk and/or a banana to keep her going until dinner time.  She's not a big dinner eater anyway - she eats a lot at daycare!
Into pyjamas and off to bed about 7:30pm for DD.  No bath at night - we shower in the morning instead.

#25 SheSaid

Posted 20 November 2012 - 07:30 PM

Thank you for all your replies!! original.gif It sounds like if I am going to try this I need to be organised. I used to have a really good routine when DH worked away before, then he was home for 2 months and now I'm really struggling sad.gif

Wish me luck!

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