The worst part about dinnertime is when you hear in usually the whiniest voice, "What's for dinner?" When you answer, the response is almost always, "I don't want that!"
You remind your child that they have had this meal before and liked it last time. They dig their heels in further and protest dinner even more.
By the time you have dinner on the table, everyone is frustrated and it's hard to enjoy your dinner.
We've ALL been there. Why does this happen? Are kids jerks?
Maybe. The jury is still out on that one.
What we know, or at least child experts and experienced parents tell us, is that kids want to feel like they have control of something. After a long day of playing, school, after-school activities, and having everyone tell them what to do, they want to make a decision. Can you blame them?
So, here's an easy trick that we created to help kids feel in control. Plus, it helps you create a meal plan for the week so you're less tempted to call for delivery at the end of a long day. (Not that there is ANY shame in doing that, by the way.)
Download our free meal chart and hang it on your fridge. Pro-tip, place the chart in a plastic sleeve (or laminate it if you have access to one) and tape it to the fridge so you don't have to print paper every week.
How to use the chart
The days of the week are listed on the right column, and there are empty lines on the left. Fill in, in no specific order, the meal options for that week. For example, you went to the grocery store and got ingredients to make:
After you write the meal options down in the placeholders, ask your children to decide which day they will have each meal. Ask them to draw a line from the day of the week to the meal option. For example, they might choose Fish on Friday and Stir Fry on Monday.
Keep your meal plan hanging on the fridge. When they ask what's for dinner, point to the chart. If they complain, too bad! They chose it!
We tried this in our homes and found there was no complaining and there was even more interest in helping to get dinner on the table. We call that a win-win!
What are your tricks to get everyone to eat together? Share in the comments below!
Snackster Sam is a jam-packed educational app that teaches kids about food that grows. Download the free app on the App Store and Google Play.