The time we get to spend together as a family is precious. We can never seem to get enough of it — especially when it comes to busy weeknights.
Whether your family consists of you and four kids, or it's just you and your roommate, there are a few things you can do to make your weeknight dinners better than ever.
1. Meal plan.
We can't stress enough how important this is. No one wants to stare blankly into the fridge at 6:30 on a Monday (or any other day of the week) and try to come up with a last-minute dinner. Luckily, we've got a ton of great tips, strategies, and recipes to help you do it.
Get reading: Find all of our meal planning stories here
2. Give everyone a job.
Just because you're the one cooking dinner doesn't mean you have to be the only one with a job to do. Have little kids help you prep or mix ingredients. Roommates can set the table and spouses can do the dishes. All these chores are way more fun when you're doing them with someone.
3. Make family dinner — around the table — a mandatory event.
Forget eating in front of the TV or in various bedrooms. If everyone is home for dinner, eat it together. At the dinner table. Of course, there will be nights when swim practice, late-night work meetings, or countless other things make this totally impossible. That's why you have to take advantage of the nights you do have at home together. (Oh and while you're there, no cell phones, iPads, or any other distractions!)
Upgrade your current set: 10 Dining Tables and Chairs That Belong Together
4. Take turns naming your peaks and your pits.
Take turns going around the table and talk about the peaks and the pits of your day. (That's the best and the worst thing to happen to you that day.) Then, instead of focusing on the pit (the negative!) talk through it as a family to figure out what that person could have done to fix it or prevent it in the first place. And really play up those peaks!
5. Don't forget dessert.
You don't have to bake a fresh pie for a Wednesday night dinner. Or do any baking at all, in fact. Once the dinner plates have been cleared, consider doling out a store-bought cookie for everyone. Or a few scoops of ice cream. The sweet treat is nice, but the best part of this is that it'll keep everyone around the table for just a little bit longer.
In case you do feel like baking: Check out all of our dessert recipes