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Meals with small children - how do you do it?

(19 Posts)
WhereTheFigawi Thu 09-Jun-16 20:29:32

I'm curious about how others manage to sit down and have meals with your small children? Because we hardly ever do and so I worry about it because I think it's an important family time (or should be).
My DD is 2.2. She's at nursery 3 days a week so on those days has all meals there except a snack when she gets home.
On the days we're home with her we try to sit down and eat lunch together, but often she's asleep at lunchtime (tired from nursery days) so has hers when she wakes at 2:30ish and we've already eaten.
At teatime, she eats about 5:00pm, so that tends to be on her own unless DSCs are here - because honestly I don't want to eat at 5pm, and on work days DP's not home yet so we wouldn't eat together.
So - how does everyone else do it? Do you eat with them? Or let them get on with it and have your own dinner later...? Should I be sacrificing grown-up supper with DP and eating tea with her instead...?

Believeitornot Thu 09-Jun-16 20:35:31

We have breakfast together every day. We got into the habit of having breakfast with the DCs and it has stuck. It is nice for us all to sit down together before we go to work etc. It is quite early but works well for us. We talk the most then.

At weekends we eat every meal together. For the 5pm slot we might have a light tea with a big meal for lunch.

At weekdays the DCs eat together for tea (after school care) and lunch is at school/nursery.

On my day off I eat with the DCs.

Rinceoir Thu 09-Jun-16 20:40:31

On nursery days DD (2) has all her meals there and a snack at home too. Sometimes we sit down and have dinner at that time and give her some but more often dinner isn't ready so we have a cup of tea while she has a sandwich or something. At the weekends we do eat our meals together. If she's asleep we wait (she has given up napping for the most part though). At weekends we eat at around 9, 130, 7 and she might have snacks in between. I used to drive myself mad giving her meals at nursery time at the weekends but I've given up on that- she seems happy to wait and eats well then. I give her a mid afternoon snack of banana/malt loaf/crackers/avocado and that keeps her going fine.

Rinceoir Thu 09-Jun-16 20:41:57

We do sit down for breakfast in the mornings together, although DD seldom eats much, she prefers to eat breakfast a while after getting up. At the weekends we have a big breakfast an hour or hour and a half after getting up.

WorldsBiggestGrotbag Thu 09-Jun-16 20:44:59

Breakfast and lunch together pretty much all the time. dinner is hit and miss, try and have it together at weekends but weekdays it usually doesn't happen.
Can you wait until 2.30pm for lunch? 2.30pm is normal lunchtime for me!

Xmasbaby11 Thu 09-Jun-16 20:46:49

Dc are 2 and 4. Both dh and i work. We have most meals together - breakfast before work and dinner after, at 6. All meals together at weekend.

Tbh I don't enjoy family mealtimes. The dc are very fussy and usually don't eat what I serve or just eat one thing eg carrots and leave the shepherd's pie. The dc are quite messy and have poor table manners so we're constantly policing them. It's not really a lovely relaxing event! In the week i get home from work at 5.30 and have to throw something together instantly.

If your set up works for you, don't change it!

Luckystar1 Thu 09-Jun-16 20:48:47

I'm a SAHM so obviously that makes a huge difference. But DS and I eat every meal together (he eats at around 7.30, 12 and 6), DH leaves work to get home for dinner (them works all evening).

For me it is extremely important to eat together, but DS didn't take to solids brilliantly initially so I wanted to set an example.

He's 19 months and a great water and is also good when we eat out (which is quite frequently...). Although DC2 is due in 7 weeks so I don't foresee that continuing...!

TweeterandtheMonkeyman Thu 09-Jun-16 20:53:34

If we're just counting round the table together,hardly ever. We have family dinner maybe once a month week , but tbh it is not our favourite thing. Really look forward to adult dinnertime with DH after they're in bed.
We have lots of family picnics\ meals out\ camping at weekends which seems to work better for us at the moment.

captainproton Thu 09-Jun-16 20:54:26

Honestly Meal times are often the worst part of being a SAHM. Ok maybe not if you only have one little person. I have 3, 2 are old enough to throw food at each other and tell poo jokes throughout every meal and fight over who sits where. It's not the wholesome family time I fantasised about when I worked full time.

BertieBotts Thu 09-Jun-16 21:02:04

We hardly ever manage either and DS is 7 now! It's just too stressful and not a fun family time at all so we don't. But when we do it's nice smile

CuntTrollingRs Thu 09-Jun-16 21:10:12

We have always eaten as a family, when they were younger the smallest one would be in the Tripp trap high chair at the far end of the table with the other dcs with a huge bib on and they would just copy the rest of us.

They had a snack at 3.30 ish then we'd all eat at 6 roughly. I couldn't cook twice-just too much hassle.

Now they are teens mainly, some of us might miss dinner for a sporting commitment but there is still a family meal at sixish.

Topsyloulou Fri 10-Jun-16 19:58:43

DS is in childcare all week & has lunch & dinner there but at weekends we always have breakfast together. Lunch will depend on his nap, we try & eat together if we can. We normally eat dinner together too unless we have plans. Eating dinner at 5.30 is a bit early but you get used to it & it's only twice a week. We try & push it a bit later on a Saturday. If we're not eating with him we sit & talk to him while he eats.

dementedpixie Fri 10-Jun-16 20:05:43

We only really have dinner together at weekends as dh is normally late home from work during the week. I make stuff for the kids and me/dh eat later

pocketsized Fri 10-Jun-16 20:06:02

We try and sit with DD while she eats her tea and have a drink/piece of fruit and then eat our meal later. Seems to work ok.

RiverTam Fri 10-Jun-16 20:10:22

I try and eat with DD as much as possible as she's an only child and I think it would be rather lonely for her to always eat alone. DH and I like to have dinner early so that's not been a bother for us over the years, especially as DH can often be home at 5.30. But if he was late or DD very hungry I'd just eat with her and he sorts himself out later.

Ffitz Fri 10-Jun-16 20:12:56

We eat together every single night, unless we're going out, at 5.30-6pm. Start work earlier to be home for it but we both have very short commutes and are quite happy to eat at that time. DS is an excellent eater.

skankingpiglet Sat 11-Jun-16 23:34:52

At weekends we eat together for breakfast and lunch, and occasionally dinner. On the nights she has dinner with her, she'll have a decent afternoon snack and DH will get her bathed and into PJs whilst I get dinner ready, so she can go straight to bed after as it's obviously a lot later than she'd otherwise eat. Often one of the meals will be informal in the living room rather than at the table.

Weekdays when DD (2) is home, I eat breakfast and lunch with her. For dinner I'll sit with her and sometimes have a small snack, but she eats too early for me to have my main meal. Plus as mentioned by upthread, I like having adult mealtime with DH later once he's home.

Weekdays when DD's at the child-minder she'll have a small pre-breakfast with DH. She has 3 meals out of the house, but they all sit to eat together at the CM's. Once she's home I'll sit and watch ITNG with her and we share a snack (dinner at the CM's is really early).

My DD also has her lunch at home at around 2-2.30. Surely that's not too late to eat with her? You could have a small snack earlier if you're puckish I often eat my way through a fair few biscuits once DD goes down for her nap, mostly so I don't have to share

Mummyme87 Sun 12-Jun-16 18:04:18

I have a 23min old
Breakfast I sit on sofa and DS sits at his little table
Lunch we sit at table around 12/12.30
Dinner sit at table about 6.30

We do have one or two days in the week where he has dinner on his own if we are having a take away

We have done this since weaning at 24weeks

NickyEds Sun 12-Jun-16 21:54:06

I really don't see that it's vitally important to all eat together with dc this age. I'm a SAHM so me and the dc usually have breakfast and lunch together. Dd is only 11 months and if she hasn't slept all morning and I think there's a chance both kids will be asleep at the same time after their lunch I'll hang on and have lunch on my own in peace! The dc eat at 5-5.30 and dp and I wait until they've gone to bed to eat together (dp doesn't get home until 6.45).

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