It’s the little things that add up to big things. Sometimes I don’t even think about posting these little things here, but I realize others might be struggling with the same issues. Even if you have found a solution, you might appreciate knowing you are not alone in your struggles!
Large Families bring interesting dynamics to the mealtime. It takes longer to get everyone seated, quieted down, served up, and cleaned up.
Here are some basic tips that we do to make mealtime a little smoother in our house.
1. Everyone has assigned seating at the table. If we did not assign seating there would be major chaos at every mealtime. All the children want to sit next to us, and while that is sweet it’s not possible! Right now Sean sits at the head of the table, I sit next to him on the right hand side, and Deborah (our youngest that sits at the table) is seated next to me. I always prefer to sit next to Sean so we can *try* to have some time to talk during dinner, and then the youngest child that is eating is always seated next to me, so I can help them.
We switch the older children’s seating around probably once a year. Right now our oldest has to pull a chair from the desks behind the table, as we don’t have enough chairs.
2. Organize your mealtime prayer! This is something I just started implanting recently and I love it! All of our children clamor loudly to pray at every meal, and it was just too much. Since we have 5 children old enough to pray, I gave them each a day of the week and they are in charge of all the prayers for that day. They say prayers at devotion time, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Our oldest starts on Monday, and our youngest ends on Friday.
Sean and I cover the weekends (no, I did not assign us days during the weekend!). If there is a pressing need the children know that Sean might jump in and say the dinner prayer, but so far it is working out great!
3. Everyone waits to be served! When the little girls get older we might start passing food around the table, but right now I serve all the plates up. I either dish up at the stove or I bring the food to the table and dish it up there. It seemed like I barely started eating my own food before the first child I served was already done and wanting seconds!
The rule now is that you must wait to be served seconds until I am done eating my first serving. Otherwise I was constantly serving up food in-between each bite of food! We do allow our two boys to help themselves to seconds at times, but the little girls must wait for sure.
4. Clean the table off! This one still needs help. If I’m being honest, we use paper plates a lot. It’s one of my work at home mama splurges to help me survive. Sean set a rule where if you don’t clear off your plate, you don’t get snacks. We need to be more diligent about sticking with that rule every single day. 🙂
Those are just some tips that help us through the never ending mealtime! Do you have any other tips?