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Eating with a family of 4 1/2 can be quite expensive. Fast food and casual dining can eat away at your finances quickly and easily before the week ends you will find you have consumed hundreds of dollars in food. In one weeks time, a family of 4-5 can spend in excess of $150.00 eating out 2-3 times a week. Even with the sharp increase in the cost of food $150.00 can spend quite nicely at your local grocery store.
I have found that through proper planning and preparation, eating at home is not only doable its practical. Now that's not to say that I don't get a little kick back from the kids every now and again (oh and the husband too but that's between us), most kids just aren't into doing what's practical and efficient particularly when they are bombarded with marketing that says otherwise. Even in the face of McDonalds happy meal toys I have found a way to make eating at home agreeable for everyone. Here are some tips for getting your kids to love dining in!
1. Make it fun - Let the kids cook! They can help out in small ways or have a night where they make the entire meal. Either way it goes kids are much more likely to eat what they have a part in preparing, even if its a very small part.
2. Have kids help grocery shop - Grocery shopping is all a part of the cooking process. There is no din din without food so take the kids with you. Now this will require time and patience, however preparedness always makes for a great experience no matter what you are doing. Give each child a list and let them be responsible for their own items. My youngest is not quite reading yet so this is a great way to encourage him along.
3. Create a weekly dinner menu - This is not only key in proper planning but will come as a big help when grocery shopping. Be sure to include kids while creating your menu and ask about things they would like to eat.
4. Have a cheat day - This is the day that you get to go out to eat as a family. Having a day where you eat what you want is great because not only do you enjoy the food more but your children have a greater appreciation for eating out. They will thank you and that which was once an every day occurrence will now be a special treat. You will be teaching your children about privileges and finances all in one sweep.
5. Make it special - Make dinner a big deal! Eat together, talk, laugh, engage one another, children love the coming together of their family. Play classical music, light candles, set out a nice tablecloth, whatever you do create a memorable environment. Dinnertime should not be spent on the go in the backseat of your car or in a noisy place where the birthday song is being sung by 25 people every five minutes. Cherish the moments you have with your kids take the time to show them a little love for that hour every day.
Dining in can be a great experience for the whole family. But the best part is what you are going to do with all the extra cash that you will save...I'm thinking shoes...cute ones...with a very high heel!
To learn more tips and dips don't forget to visit me at TiffanyFulcher.org
Make it a great Mommy day!