Saturday, September 22, 2012

Savoring Saturday: Calming Down Dinner Chaos


Dinner has been a bit loud, crazy and chaotic lately. I don't know if it is left over summer energy or if it is caused by our new busy evening schedule but it was making my husband and I crazy. I tried implementing Stephanie's 3 bites before you speak rule. It didn't work, at all. Most of the time they shoved 3 bites in fast and spoke with full mouths. 

Something had to be done to restore order and peace to dinner. We have made 3 simple changes that have totally changed and calmed our dinner hour. 

1. Changed Seats
My son (7) was sitting in a regular chair, my daughter (5) was using the Tripp Trapp because she short and the toddler was in a booster. Dinners started with tears because the toddler always wanted to sit in the Tripp Trapp. We would spend the entire dinner reminding (begging, pleading) our son to sit, not stand next to, his seat. We had been talking about getting a bench for awhile and I finally pulled the trigger and we bought one.

Not only is it a space saver in our tiny dinning room it seems to have brought peace to all the kids. The big kids love it. It's a little taller so my shorty can reach just fine and the toddler gets to sit in the chair she wants. Everyone is happy. 

2. Family Style Dinning
We have a cabinet full of great serving dishes we received as wedding gifts that get used only 2-3 times a year when we entertain. Instead of leaving them to collect dust while we serve out of pots in the kitchen we have started serving family style. 

Grilled Tomato Linguine 
While it has increased our dishes, having everything at the table means my husband and I get to sit and eat instead of getting up every 5 minutes for seconds, milk, salt, cheese, etc. On our busy nights I will set the table with serving pieces and dishes before we head out for school pick ups.

This small change has made dinner feel less like a chore and more like a ritual. Seems it seems fancier the kids almost behave better. Something I tried on a whim after a particularly bad night has become routine. 

3. Around the Table We Go
While I don't think we will ever combat the loud overexcited talking over one another we have calmed it down a bit. We now go around the table and everyone gets to talk about their day, including mom and dad! They kids are catching on; learning respect and mom and dad get to actually finish a sentence. 

 What are some simple ways you bring calm to dinner?

Pin of the week:
Our favorite Update our Meals Recipe this week:

Source: via Melissa on Pinterest

Stuffed Chicken Cutlets (we used chicken breasts)- stuffed with feta, kalamata olives and roasted red peppers topped with tomato sauce.

1 comment:

Ginny Marie said...

We have some of the same problems at dinner! We will go around the table and talk about our high and low of the day. The problem with that is our 5 year old doesn't want to give anyone else a turn to talk! Dinnertime can definitely be a challenge, but so worth it in the end.