Family dinners are an incredibly precious time in this house. A chance to spend quality time together, it’s a chance to reflect on our day over a delicious home cooked meal.
I also love to get my kids involved in the kitchen so the fun begins from the supermarket as we select ingredients together and most evenings, my boys get stuck in to help me rustle up dinner even if that’s giving food a stir or setting the table.
When it comes to sitting down at the table, I’ve always been clear it’s a time to focus on one another and the food in front of us. Cooking them their favourite meal of Spaghetti Bolognese (my recipe is below) always helps get them to the table and eating happily.
As kids eating in front of the telly was always a treat and I’ve followed that ritual with my own kids, imposing a no tech rule at dinner 99% of the time. As much as I love working as a blogger and vlogger, my day can be dominated by all things digital and it’s important for me to have boundaries, particularly when it comes to spending time with my husband and kids.
My husband Peter often jokes that my iPhone is our third kid so I owe it to him and my little ones to give them my undivided attention after school and around the dinner table, picking up work once they’re asleep if I need to.
So for at least one hour each day, I go completely cold turkey on the digital front. And it’s not just me, Peter too has to leave his phone in the other room too and both boys are not allowed to bring their tablets or any other electronic games to the table. The TV – and even the radio – is switched off too.
Food time= family time!
And it’s absolutely the right thing for us as a family and I hope it inspires you to go tech-free too. We’re all about #techfreetables here!
…New research by Dolmio has revealed the negative impact technology is having on the UK’s family mealtimes.
More than two-thirds of families say that dinner time arguments stem from technology and one in three has tried and failed to impose a technology ban at the table.
In an interesting experiment, celebrity mum, Louise Redknapp, trialled an innovative new Dolmio ‘Pepper Hacker’ which resembled an everyday grinder but was actually kitted out with technology to get kids talking and not texting at the dinner table. Watch it below:
While I have – touch wood – so far been successful in imposing my technology ban, I can also understand that when you’re waiting for an important email or can hear the buzz of notifications from your phone in the next room it can be tempting to cut the digi detox short.
In particular, breaking the kids away from their new fave game or DVD has also resulted in the odd temper tantrum, but over the years I’ve developed a few failsafe ways to guarantee a tech-free, argument-free dinner time.
Read my tips below and don’t miss my video at the end!
Get Kids Involved
Avoid boredom at dinner by getting kids involved with the prep, cooking and serving of the meal. Include them in shopping for the ingredients – even better growing their own ingredients! A herb or vegetable patch in the garden is a fun and educational way to teach youngsters about healthy eating and will encourage them to eat more. There’s no greater sense of achievement when you cook and eat homegrown fruit and veg!
Getting them involved in cooking the meal is another super way to make kids feel engaged at dinner time and less likely to reach for films/games. One of our favourite dinners to cook as a family is Spaghetti Bolognese using Dolmio’s bolognese sauce- and I’m sharing my recipe at the end of this post.
Eat al fresco to enjoy the sun when it’s shining. Being outside offers fewer distractions and makes dinner time more fun.
Have a Carpet Picnic
We love a carpet/floorboard picnic on a blanket inside making food the main event and something a little bit special.
Explain the Value of Good Food
Explain that food will give them energy and make them strong and the importance of savouring every mouthful and enjoying it.
Have a Good Natter
Don’t forget about your little ones around the table-talk to them not just your other half.
Keep chat light-hearted too! Avoid pressing them with lots of questions – instead find interesting topics to discuss and make sure they feel they are being listened to. Remember mealtimes should be fun.
Watch the video:
Now for my much-loved spag bol recipe!
Honest Mum’s Spaghetti Bolognese
Ingredients (serves 4)
- 400g white spaghetti, cooked according to packet instructions (use brown/gluten free if you prefer)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 400g of minced beef
- 2 medium red onion, finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, trimmed and finely chopped
- 500g Dolmio Bolognese Sauce
- Grated cheese of your choice to serve
- Cook the spaghetti in a medium pot of boiling water with a dash of olive oil.
- Heat the remaining olive oil in a large saucepan and fry the minced meat until it is browned
- Add the red onion, carrots and garlic and fry until soft (add garlic last as this cooks the quickest)
- Add the Dolmio Bolognese sauce, lower the heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes while gently stirring
- Drain the spaghetti and add on top or mix the sauce through (we like to place the sauce on the top)
- Sprinkle with parmesan or a cheese of your choice
Now onto the competition and to win this incredible Dolmio’s Hamper that includes picnic hamper, chequered table cloth, selection of 5 x jars of Dolmio sauces, packet of spaghetti, block of parmesan and is worth £50.
Simply enter via Rafflecopter below
This is open to those living in the UK
If the winner does not respond to the notification email within 7 days, a new random winner will be selected
No cash alternative
Ends 24th September 2016.
a Rafflecopter giveaway