Whether your family’s mealtime routine involves whipping up a delicious meal, or calling your local pizza spot, one thing is true when eating time rolls around again: chaos reigns.
Does your kid refuse any food that veers off their optimal color pallet? Fill up by just looking at broccoli while mysteriously leaving plenty of room for dessert? (We all need to admit there truly is another compartment when it comes to ice cream.) Do they seem to always get more food on themselves than in their mouth? Refuse to eat if any of the food is touching? Twirl their food into their hair? We’ve heard it all.
We’ve consulted with some Ovia Moms and reflected on our own childhoods. Here are some tried and true mom mealtime hacks for your inspiration (or entertainment).
Many of us haven’t been going to restaurants much this year, so Ovia moms are bringing the restaurant into their own kitchens. Depending on the number of little ones you have at home and their ages, there are a whole bunch of roles that need to be filled at the “restaurant:” host, server, patron, dishwasher, the list goes on. “Restaurant” can even be a full day affair (those menus don’t write themselves kids)! Assign your little ones parts, maybe even multiple parts for those smaller families (or overachievers); and you’re open for business!
And, as every restaurant-goer knows, there is always one quiet lady sitting in the corner who does not appreciate being bothered. An Ovia mom was recently overheard reminding the waitstaff at her “restaurant” that the quiet lady in the corner should not be consulted on optimal dishwashing technique.
Cover your tracks
Many kids have a special talent for sensing and rejecting the most nutritious foods (we see those picked over greens left on your plate). Mom’s favorite hack? Wrap it up or put it on a stick. Something about those veggies being invisible or in a more fun format really does make them more delicious.
Ovia moms report that turning on some music can do wonders to help their little ones get those before-dinner zoomies out. When your infant, toddler, or adult partner is feeling a bit moody, nothing changes the mood more successfully than some happy music. This hack can be used any time. An Ovia Mom recently reported using the dance and music routine to combat her baby’s fear of the blender.
For warmer months and tired moms
When you’re just not feeling like making a complicated meal, take a blanket outside and have yourself a family picnic. There are so many reasons Ovia moms love this hack. Messy hands are no match for grass. And (perhaps most importantly), an extravagant meal would be very strange to bring to a picnic. PB&Js for everyone, limited kitchen time for Mom!
Getting your kiddos in on the cooking can be more trouble than it’s worth — one Ovia mom suspects this is the reason you’ve never once seen an Instagram Live of a family meal. But some foods are easier (and more time-consuming) for little hands. Have your older kids help shuck corn or break off asparagus ends. Not your thing? Ok, onto the next…
We’ve seen more than a few eyes roll at the idea of themed dinners, but themes can get your kids excited to dress up, decorate the table, even create drawings based on the theme — all of which offer you some extra time to place that order or, if you’re feeling inspired by the theme yourself, cook up something delicious.
One Ovia family throws a regular Jammies & Jewels themed dinner. Cozy, fabulous, and already dressed for bed (admittedly only so long as the mess is minimal). Mom brilliance at its finest (and most efficient).
Need some post dinner inspiration? We love a good pillow fort, but we’re noticing that a lot of forts these days are missing a main character: a sleeping mama bear who can’t be woken up. We know just the right person for the part.