Family dinnertime rituals

While some evenings are for a hastily prepared meal shoveled down after you've taxied your child around to football/ballet/karate, others are for taking the time to share the chopping and stirring, before sitting down and enjoying dinner as a family. Mumsnetters shared their most treasured dinnertime rituals – in all their messy, noisy, unexpected glory

Put phones, tablets, laptops down

“Our family always eat dinner together around the kitchen table with no devices on. It's fun to get the kids involved with cooking the dinner, getting them used to different ingredients and how they can all work together. One of our latest favourites is spicy rice, which involves cooking up some fresh peppers, onion, mushrooms and garlic then adding some curry powder or spices and chilli, then adding rice.”

With lots of mouths to feed, find a way to keep everyone happy

“I try and make variations on the same dish to suit all of our tastes. For example, my daughter loves Bolognese so I use a simple Dolmio sauce (with no added sugar) and pasta for her dinner – I add extra mushrooms and plenty of parmesan as she loves them. I have some of the sauce but I have courgetti with mine. When my fiance gets home at 8.30pm I turn the remaining sauce into a chilli, with plenty of spice. Three different meals, small variations and we are all happy without having to spend all evening cooking.”

Dust off those dancing shoes

“Friday night kitchen dancing! It’s a tradition that started when my sister and I were teenagers. Our parents would have a couple of glasses of wine and we would all dance around the kitchen while they cooked dinner. Those Friday nights are some of my favourite childhood memories so it’s a ritual I’m passing on to my own children.”

Many hands make light work – so rope in the kids

“We try to cook together at least once over the course of the week. My 10-year-old daughter specialises in starters (crostini is her go-to dish at the moment) and I try to engage my son in chopping veg in the vain hope he’ll eat some one day.”

Seeing your little Delia flourish is (almost) worth the food poisoning

“On Fridays I prepare a big bowl of salad and set the table out in full. My 12-year-old daughter then delivers her food technology lesson dish for us to eat. Sweet suffering Jesus, we've had to endure soggy fajitas, mushed fruit salad, and a fish and vegetable curry that completely blew our heads off. But we say how wonderful it is so that she can experience sharing food, and you can feel the pride radiating off her.”

All the best decisions are made as a team

“A ritual in our house is choosing the food we will eat over the next week over dinner. We each get to choose at least one evening meal and we’ll write the shopping list together. The kids usually argue over what we should have, but I like getting them involved in the cooking process right from the very start.”

Some days will be busier than others – but find the time to sit down together

Family eating dinner

“Midweek dinners are generally a rush. Quick meals prepared between activities and homework, or food swiftly heated and decanted into Tupperware to eat on the go. Special fried rice is a firm favourite! As a large family with both of us working, the weekends are the only time we are all together for lunch or dinner – so that's when we have a big sit-down meal and enjoy catching up on the week.”