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Plan a Family Dinner Party...with your kids

Updated: Mar 6, 2023

It all started during lockdowns...remember that?? I think I pushed it out of my brain because it feels like a very faint memory these days! How quickly we got back to 'normal'.

Believe it or not, there were actually many good things that came out of pandemic times. Like most other families, we spent A LOT of time together playing cards & games, doing puzzles, going for walks, watching Netflix, among other things. But one of my favourite activities we did was planned FAMILY DINNER PARTIES.

This is an activity that we'll always continue to do because we all enjoyed it so much!

This special time creates memories that will last a lifetime. How do we make this happen you ask? on for details.

The first task is deciding who will be responsible for each part of the meal. In my house, the kids fight over who gets to make dessert. So we decided to rotate that duty!

Because we have five people in our house and our kids are a bit older, and quite capable in the kitchen, we usually do a four course meal: appetizer, soup or salad, entree with sides and dessert.

After we've decide who is making what part of the meal, we pick a theme or at least some dishes that will pair well together. It usually starts with one person wanting to make a specific recipe, then we choose other dishes that complement that particular recipe. This process takes time.

We usually start planning at least one week in advance. Once everyone has chosen a recipe I make a grocery list and pick up everything we need.

Sometimes we even print out the menu
Dinner Party Menu

The day before the party, we review recipes, do any pre-prep necessary, and make sure everyone knows what they are doing. When she's feeling overly ambitious, my daughter will even print out the menu to decorate the table.

The day of our party is usually a little hectic but the energy is high. We don't get this feeling as much these days, so I fully embrace it! We try to make this time fun by playing music, enjoying a special drink, and dancing while we cook.

Our kitchen is fairly big but when five people are all cooking together, we have to get creative with space and sometimes we bump into each other. It's not often our family of five is all together in one room these days!

Dinner party's a mess...this is REAL LIFE!
Busy Kitchen & a REAL LIFE mess!!

She loves to cook.
Making meatballs

This is an activity that works best with kids who are at least school age. At the beginning they might need quite a bit of assistance. But as you involve them more in food prep tasks on a regular basis, and you have more family dinner parties, you'll notice that they need less and less help with completing their recipes. Before you know it, they'll be making you dinner!

We always set the table nice. Sometimes we even find a video and to learn how to fold some fancy napkins. We do our best to dress nice for the occasion. The idea is to make it feel a night out.

This pandemic has been hard on families. For us, we're together at home a lot more than usual and it's not always rainbows and unicorns! But I'm always trying to find ways to make the most of it.

I believe that one day we'll all look back at this extra time together as a blessing and be happy we created some incredible new family memories.

Family dinner parties may even become a tradition you continue after life is back to 'normal'.

Time is short with our kids. Spend it well my friends 😊



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Janine LaForte, RD
Culinary Dietitian
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