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back to work - evening routine?(59 Posts)
Hi all, I am due to go back to work start of Jan and am trying to think how our evenings will go on the days that I've been at work.
At a settling in session at nursery yesterday, the manager mentioned that the afternoon dinner is more of a sandwich picnic as they find most families like to go home and have a sit down meal with their baby as a family.
My question is...how?!! At absolute best I'll get home from work shortly after 6.30, and at that time DH will have just got back from picking up DD (12mo) from nursery. How do we find the time to make/eat dinner together (we wont even be hungry until later...), have a bit of down time with DD, have bath time, have DD asleep by 7.30? I imagine she'll be exhausted and so I don't want to keep her up much later than that.
How do you all time things on the evenings when you've been at work during the day? Will a slow cooker become my friend?!
Sandwich picnic is fine. Just do a portion of porrige, bath if time, then bedtime with a story. One of you do that and the other make dinner for the two of you.
Our kids are 4 and 7. We still dont eat evening meal with them midweek. They eat with the childminder. It means the time we do have at home is spent together not cooking. Games or books or tv show together. We eat after they go to bed. Weekends we eat all meals together.
Thanks Tulips. When I mentioned sandwich picnic I meant that that is what they have at around 3.30ish at nursery, and the nursery's thinking around this is that they'll have a hot dinner when they go home. She'll definitely need something more than porridge when she gets home (especially at this point when she definitely wont be eating much of any sandwiches given to her...!).
Maybe I give up on the ideal of us all sitting down to eat dinner, and make sure I have something ready for her to be heated up on the days i'm in work. Then our evening can pan out similar to how you've outlined.
I think it's really nice (and to be honest, important) to eat together as a family.
You could do dinner for 7:00.
I know a lot of people give there babies baths every night, but I don't understand why. They don't get that mucky. I bathe my daughter twice a week.
You might find, at least at first, that she is too tired to eat. It'll be trial and error. Also she may not be hungry as they tend to have a good lunch at nursery.
I tried to feed DC1 (now school age) a proper meal after nursery and he just didn't eat.
I think something quick like porridge, scrambled egg, beans on toast, pasta is fine. Then if she doesn't eat, you won't have spent ages cooking! Plus it means bath and bed isn't delayed.
thanks for your thoughts kayaking. My concern is that DD will be falling asleep at the table by that point (if I even manage to get dinner together by 7) but the idea of a family meal is nice. I just can't see how people manage it, hence my post!
Re bath time, while DD doesn't get particularly mucky at the moment, it's a time that she enjoys to splash around with me or her dad, helps her unwind, and puts her in the frame of mind for going to sleep. So it serves a number of purposes, getting 'clean' is just one.
Pete yes I think you're right that it'll be trial and error! Thanks, that sounds like a sensible approach
Both my DS’ have been to nursery with similar timings for an afternoon ‘tea’. They are knackered at the end of the day and could not stay up for a sit down meal. Instead they have something light; eggy bread, pancakes, toast, hummus and pitta etc and fruit. They have had a two course large cooked lunch so I don’t think they are missing out, and the little one in particular is a very big eater.
DS has been in nursery since he was 4 months old (he’s now almost 3) and has always had the sort of tea you describe, at around 3.30pm. We’ve never given him a proper dinner when he gets home. When he was a baby he would have porridge or weetabix. Now he has a yogurt, toast, fruit etc and a glass of milk. He’s in bed by 7. He appears to be growing well and has never complained of being hungry. We eat when he’s in bed and make an effort to eat as a family on the weekends. None of my friends with kids at nursery feed them a proper meal when they get home either.
6:30 is quite late, if we get home at that time it's toast or quick cook pasta for dinner. But you can't do that every night!
Can one of you start work earlier to pick up DC earlier and come home and cook? E.g 8am-4pm, instead of 9-5.
Evenings where I don't get to dc until nursery closing are a nightmare tbh and I try to avoid it when I can by starting earlier to pick up earlier.
I've also been wondering about the evening routine when DD starts nursery (not until April, she'll be 9 months) they have a sandwich and snack type tea at 4pm so children 'can have a hot meal with family'. We will be home by 5.15 but does will she really need breakfast, snack, dinner, snack, sandwich & snack and then a cooked tea as well?
And then we've got to get a bath and to bed!
Use a slow cooker and then your dinner will be ready as soon as you walk in.
Tryinganewname- my 2 year old certainly wouldn’t eat his dinner if he was given sandwiches at 4pm!
I've had this dilemma with all 3 dcs. What I usually did was just offer stuff that didn't need cooking like cream cheese on crackers with grapes, or toast and ham. That sort of thing. Don't kill yourself worrying about whether it should be a hot meal or if you should eat with her etc. Do what works for you because when you go back to work you'll need time in the evenings to unwind so you don't want a later bed time for dc to eat into that. She will also benefit from staying in that routine imo.
None of mine have needed a proper meal after nursery, although they give tea slightly later than 3.30. It seems very common to have a proper hot meal at lunch then tea to be soup or a sandwich. Mine love having a snack waiting for them on their car seat when I pick them up, and might have some fruit or hot cross bun or something quickly at home before bath and bed.
I don't eat with my daughter, I just make her an easy supper then we do bath, milk, story, bed. She went to nursery at 8 months full time and as they don't sleep as long there as they would at home at lunch time, she is desperate for bed by 6:30. I think you should I'm to be in bed no later than 7:30 as they will really struggle to stay up much later.
DS nursery did the same. We just fed him separately to us, something quick like pasta with sauce from the freezer, scrambled eggs or a small leftover portion from our tea the night before. He had had a cooked lunch and sandwich at nursery. We kept up the nightly bath as it was part of his wind down routine.
I’m a childminder. I give the children I look after a hot dinner and then a snack (not sandwiches though) at 4 to get them through till their tea which they have at home. Because they’ve had a hot dinner, they can have a cold tea when they get home, so sandwich, something on toast, but of cheesy pasta, crackers, breadsticks, anything quick and easy.
What are nursery going to give her at lunch time? A proper dinner or a snack type dinner?
Our DS has a snack at 3pm at nursery which can be a sandwich but more often something like breadsticks and dip, healthy muffin, etc. Not what I’d really consider dinner. We get home around 5.45, aim to have dinner on the table by 6.30, which is fairly doable, in the bath between 7 and 7.30 and in bed by 8pm- he usually then takes 30 to 90 minutes to go to sleep but that’s a whole other issue! One plays with him while the other cooks and we all eat together. Works well for us. Other families I know give the child a portion of leftovers from the night before heated up or something else super quick and get them straight into bed then cook and eat their own meal later. I’d be too tired and hungry to mess about cooking once DS was asleep but if you have one who goes in their cot at 7pm and you walk away and have a free evening from then I can see how it works. It might be your only option if you can’t get one of you home before 6.30 - although DS goes to sleep later than a lot of children he stays asleep a bit later and has a long nap in the day and doesn’t seem to suffer for it.
Glad to hear I'm not the only one with this quandary!
Invisimamma - I'm very luckily only working a 3 day week, one of which I will be working from home. So I'll only have this issue on the two days that I am commuting and on those days my DH will need to do the nursery drop offs/pick ups. His work is flexible but realistically even with leaving work early he wouldn't be able to get dd home before 6. So i think as suggested, these days will be slow cooker days, or as others have mentioned just quick light meals such as pancakes etc if it turns out that dd isn't hungry at that time.
Gosh it's all such a big shift into a new routine, I'm feeling quite overwhelmed and sad for my daughter that she has no idea that our lovely little bubble is about to burst, never to be the same again...
You'll probably find that nursery give a hot meal at lunch time and then a mid afternoon snack and so I don't think a main meal is needed again in the evening. I try to have some pasta pre-prepared or maybe some leftovers from the previous evening and quickly heat that up and serve as soon as we get home. Some nights it's something like beans on toast.
I have this 2 days a week and I manage with a mixture of slow cooker meals, leftovers from the day before, omelettes, beans on toast, egg on toast, precooked jackets (done at home), batch cooked chilli/Bolognese sauce/pasta sauce/soup from the freezer etc, and the odd takeaway or ready meal when it all goes tits up (it will). Good luck!
And try not to feel sad about it, you'll love seeing her grow and become more independent in the nursery environment. Both myself and my daughter found it a massive adjustment at the start, but it's been so good for her and really helped her development.
I found making a batch of pasta and freezing it in single portions good for nursery days. can even be given cold.
My dd has breakfast, lunch, snack and tea at nursery, so although tea is at 3:30, she has so much food that on 2 nursery days she doesn't have dinner with us, just bottle and bed.
Other 3 days we all have dinner together at 6:15/6:30ish and then dd is in bed by 7pm. We only do bath 2 or 3 times a week and normally as soon as we get her home around 5ish.
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