The busier we are the more difficult it is to plan time for traditional family dinners. Families who eat together enjoy quality time, and even save a few dollars as compared to dining out. Here are some tips for making family dinners a priority.

Set a time

Review everyone’s schedule and set a specific time for dinner each evening. Deanna King, mother of two, says “Family dinner time at the table is very important to me. I will communicate with my husband about what time he will be home to make sure dinner is ready for us to sit down together.”

Watch the schedule

Be careful not to over schedule your children with activities in the afternoon and evening. Try not to schedule late afternoon meetings or activities during dinner. Family dinner, even if only a few times a week, is equally as important as sports and enrichment for kids.

Plan ahead and simplify meals

Keep dinners simple on busy weeknights by following a set meal plan and prepping as much in advance as possible. Crockpot dishes or pre-made casseroles are a good solution. Or consider serving something quick like cold sandwiches or leftovers.

Put down the phone

Turn off digital distractions during dinner. Put down the smartphones and turn off the TV. Make the most of the time together, even if it is only for a few minutes a day.

Do your best

Family dinner every night may not be realistic for all families. Start by incorporating one family dinner per week. Over time, increase the frequency to several times per week. Do your best to make family dinner a priority and you will see the lasting benefits.

–Sarah Lyons

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