Making Family Mealtime Count

In today’s crazy busy world it’s not always easy to share family meals. Mighty Mommy has some great ideas to help your family mealtime count (even if you only have 30 minutes to gather at your table and break bread).

Cheryl Butler
2-minute read

As a mom of 8 kids, I can tell you that the one aspect of parenting that I hold sacred is having meals together as a family, even if it’s just a few times a week. 

You don’t have to set out your best china and serve up extravagant dishes to make a family meal meaningful. What you do need to serve up is a small chunk of time where you can physically be in one another’s presence, to interact together with conversation, to exchange of ideas, and most importantly, to show one another that you care about what’s going on in your individual lives.

Even if you only have 20 – 30 minutes to gather at your table and break bread, here are some ideas to help your family mealtime count:

  • This may seem like a no brainer, but turn off all electronics—cell phones, TVs, iPods, etc. so you’ll have no distractions during your family meal.

  • Extend dinner invitations to your kids and spouse every now and again or for special occasions like birthdays, report card time, change of seasons or better yet—for no special reason…..just because!

  • Try to involve your family in the meal planning.  Encourage them to go through any favorite recipe books you have at home or go online and search for new food combos. Or simply try variations of old favorites like baked chicken, pasta and meatballs, or mac & cheese.  It’s good to have staple dishes you can count on when you’re in a busy stretch.  

  • Purchase an inexpensive toy microphone so that each family member can have a turn sharing something that is important to him.  This may seem corny, but it really does make a statement that the person talking has everyone’s attention during the meal.

  • Play a game after dinner.  Have some pre-made “conversation starters” ready to go such as

    • If you could be any storybook character, who would you be? Why?

    • The best day I’ve had in a while was_____________because of______________________

    • Something I wish we could do as a family would be______________________________

  • Let your kids pick something yummy to serve as dessert. Then let them help create and serve it.

  • Be sure and wrap up your time together by letting the entire family know how thankful you are to have them in your lives.  You don’t have to pull out a formal speech, but simply share some heartfelt words about how much they mean to you.  Family members so often get taken for granted—don’t let this happen in your life—make it a loving habit to remind them that they are cherished.

For more tips on how to keep your family connected, check out 4 Ways to Keep Your Family Strong and 8 Ways to Keep Your Family Stress-Free this Holiday Season.


All content here is for informational purposes only. This content does not replace the professional judgment of your own mental health provider. Please consult a licensed mental health professional for all individual questions and issues.

About the Author

Cheryl Butler Project Parenthood

Cheryl L. Butler was the host of the Mighty Mommy podcast for nine years from 2012 to 2021. She is the mother of eight children. Her experiences with infertility, adoption, seven pregnancies, and raising children with developmental delays have helped her become a resource on the joys and challenges of parenting. You can reach her by email.