Reduce Mealtime Madness with Family Dinner Rules


Family Dinner Rules can reduce mealtime madness and allow your kids to explore food in a relaxed and positive way. Find out how!



I’m a mum too! I know family meals can be challenging.


As a mum to four kids, I know first-hand how crazy, loud and sometimes stressful mealtimes can be.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy and value family mealtimes, but they’re certainly not relaxing! If you’ve been following me on social media or reading some of my other blogs, you’ll know that I’m a firm believer in the Division of Responsibility in feeding. This is where parents control When, Where and What foods are served, and kids control Whether to eat and How much.




As parents, we need to set boundaries around mealtimes.


As well as setting boundaries around mealtimes we also need to be consistent in following through with these at mealtimes. In this way, we can help our kids explore food in an unpressured way while maintaining our sanity!



Why putting together some dinner time rules can help you?


One way to set boundaries is to get your family together and develop some Family Dinner Time Rules. You’ll be surprised how much even small kids can contribute, with the right prompting! Print out and display your rules in the place where you eat your meals. If anyone breaks the rules, refer to the family contract!



Our family dinner rules as an example!


Here’s are the dinner time rules that work for our family, maybe you’ll want to add or remove rules from this. No problem, there’s no right or wrong, do what works for you.


Family Dinner rules


The reasons behind our family dinner rules


Everyone Sits at the Table


I want to reinforce the notion that meals are about more than what and how much the kids eat. They’re an important part of our family life.



Be Grateful


Cooking family meals is often a thankless task; the least everyone can do is say ‘thanks’!



You don’t have to eat.


This ties in with The Division of Responsibility in feeding and is a great way to diffuse mealtime tension. Serving ‘family style‘ meals can also help to reinforce this.



Be kind


We’ve banned the word ‘disgusting’ and ‘yuck’ from our table, although honestly it still creeps in from time to time. Not only is this rude to the chef (me!), it also has adverse knock-on effects on the other kids. It’s OK to think it, just don’t say it out loud or think of a politer way to describe the food.



Help each other


This helps to give kids the heads up that it’s almost dinner time and teaches important life skills. Yes, it is often easier to do these tasks yourself but stick with it, it’ll pay off in the long-term, I hope!




Learn more about HOW and WHAT to feed children aged 1-5 years with my online Feeding Your Toddler course.



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