In addition to our #BackToTheTable challenges this month, we’re also giving some tips on ways to rethink and rework the time we spend around the table. Today we’re talking about ways to get your family involved with meals.
What’s the Back to the Table Challenge?
To encourage The Busy Bee community to get creative with their family meals this month, we’ve created our #BackToTheTable Challenge! The winner will receive a $50 APIARY gift card. Entering the contest is easy: simply tag The Busy Bee on a social media post of you participating in the challenge and use the hashtag #BackToTheTable. Each challenge entry is a bonus entry. Shannon and Jenna will randomly select a winner on Instagram Stories on October 1st. To be sure your entry counts, have a public profile and/or send us a DM with a photo of your entry (if private).
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Include Kids in Prep Work
Especially at a young age, kids want to be involved and help around the house. That being said, we know having a tiny “sous chef” in the kitchen isn’t the easiest (Or fastest. Or cleanest.) way to cook. But if you can bring your kids into prep time, you’ll be amazed by what you see.
These are the tiny moments when connections happen. Go ahead and embrace the mess–after all, cooking is a life skill and those only get better with practice! Washing produce, measuring ingredients, and reading recipes are all meaningful ways your little ones can get involved.
Jenna’s kid-friendly knife set allows her kids to get involved with chopping, dicing, and slicing ingredients. Having right-sized and age-appropriate kitchen tools goes a long way in everyone finding success (and staying safe).
Shannon keeps a Montessori-style helper tower in her kitchen for Max to help during prep work. Max loves seeing what’s happening on the counters and Shannon loves knowing he’s safe while she cooks. Shan also loves the tower’s clever design because it can also fold into a child-sized table for Max to enjoy.
Filling Each Other’s Cups (Literally)
There are also many other ways to get involved with dinner beyond cooking. Our own mom had us setting the table for dinner every night. Do you think it could have played a role in what we do now?? And our jobs at Mimi’s haven’t changed in decades; we’re always tasked with making sure there is plenty of ice and water in the glasses around the table.
While our own lives look a little different these days and big family dinners aren’t happening every night, we still try to make setting the table part of our usual routine when schedules allow.
Don’t let taste, sight, smell, and touch be the only engaged senses for dinner. Have your kids pick out a playlist to play softly during the meal for background music. We recommend playlists that compliment the menu if you’re tired of hearing Kiz Bop or Cocomelon that day. Think Italian music with spaghetti or country music with fried chicken.
Shared Responsibility, Shared Enjoyment
The point of all of this, and why we love to get our families involved with dinner, is that being part of the dinnertime process helps everyone appreciate (and enjoy!) the meal that much more. We’re passionate about teaching our kids exactly what goes into preparing food for someone you love: from meal planning, to prep work and cooking, to table setting, and cleanup. We’ve always known connections are made around the table, but the reality is those important connections start way before we sit down!