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Family Time

Family meals allow your preschooler to focus on the task of eating and give you a chance to model good behaviors.

It takes a little work to bring everyone together for meals. But it's worth it and the whole family eats better.

  • Start eating meals together as a family when your kids are young. This way, it becomes a habit.
  • Plan when you will eat together as a family. Write it on your calendar.
  • You may not be able to eat together every day. Try to have family meals most days of the week.

Make family meals enjoyable

  • Focus on the meal and each other. Turn off the television. Take phone calls or texts later. 
  • Talk about fun and happy things. Try to make meals a stress-free time.
  • Encourage your child to try foods. But, don't lecture or force your child to eat.
  • Involve your child in conversation. Ask questions like: 
  • What made you feel really happy today?
  • What did you have to eat at lunch today?
  • What's your favorite veggie? Why?
  • Tell me one thing you learned today.
  • What made you laugh today?
  • Have your child help you get ready to eat. Depending on age, your child may be able to:
  • Help set the table
  • Put pets, toys, or books in another room
  • Turn off the TV
  • Pour milk (with help)
  • Put down place mats
  • Hand out napkins and silverware
  • Pick flowers for the table
  • Clear the table
  • Wipe the table

Ideas for fast family meals

Cook it fast on busy nights. Try stir-fried meat and vegetables, quick soups, sandwiches, or quesadillas.

Do some tasks the day before. Wash and cut vegetables or make a fruit salad. Cook lean ground beef or turkey for burritos or chili. Store everything in the fridge until ready to use.

Find quick and tasty recipes that don't cost a lot to make.

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