Mealtimes are one of the most joyous times of the day for our family! But mealtime routines are complex. There are lots of little mealtime routines, made up of lots of small tasks, that all come together to make mealtimes possible. 

Emily and I recently sat down to think about all of the little mealtime routines that we do every week. The open-ended days of summer are behind us, and a fall season of remote teaching and learning are ahead of us. We’re trying to plan ways to streamline some of our recurring mealtime routines to make them a little bit easier. 

We have also been brainstorming ways to include the girls in some of our mealtime routines, and gradually give them more responsibilities. We want the girls to build skills and learn age-appropriate aspects of our daily mealtime routines. We want the girls to learn that our family is a team and that we all work together to keep the household running.

Our girls LOVE to eat and they also LOVE to help out in the kitchen. With careful modeling, coaching, and reinforcement, they are gradually learning to take on more mealtime routines responsibilities, which helps to make mealtime routines feel like a team effort!

We also have a NEW download available for you: Managing Mealtime Routines as a Team, which breaks down the various aspects of mealtime routines and tasks.

Mealtime Routines and Tasks

1. Meal Planning

mealtime routines - meal planning

Meal planning for the week involves first reading and reviewing the recipes, selecting which meals to make and number of portions, writing out a schedule for which days to serve each recipe, and checking the pantry for ingredients we already have at home. Personally, we have turned over most of our meal planning to Cook Smarts. It is an amazing meal planning service we have used for 3 years, long before Tidy Dad started, but we are now officially proud brand ambassadors. They offer a free 30-day trial, and it is a gift I highly encourage you to give yourself! Cook Smarts provides us with the recipes and ingredient lists for Monday-Thursday, and then we let the girls choose our meal for Friday nights. Check out our blog about our Friday night homemade pizza routine, which is a fun way to end the work week!

2. Grocery Shopping

mealtime routines - grocery shopping

Grocery shopping includes listing what ingredients we need, making a plan for when to purchase ingredients, and then actually purchasing the ingredients. Cook Smarts combines the ingredients for each of their recipes into one list, with spots to add any extra items. We used make small trips to our local grocery store when walking home from school drop-off or walking home from work, and then plan a larger Costco run every few weeks after school. Now we use online grocery shopping with curbside pickup and have the groceries placed directly into our trunk. Whatever method you use, it can be helpful to have a plan for the week and schedule the grocery shopping into your calendar.

3. Meal Prep

mealtime routines - meal prep

Meal prep includes anything that can be prepped in advance, before the cooking process. The girls love helping with this part! We start by gathering the ingredients we need for a recipe and then preparing any ingredients that can be prepped in advance. This typically includes chopping veggies, cooking grains, marinating meat, making spice spices, and making sauces and vinaigrettes. Then we put the prepped ingredients into storage containers and organize the ingredients into the refrigerator, freezer, or pantry. It makes it so much easier and faster when it is actually time to start cooking a meal. Here’s a list of all our favorite products for meal prepping and cooking!

4. Cooking

mealtime routines - cooking

Cooking together is a fun part of our daily routine. We start by gathering our prepped ingredients and prepping any remaining ingredients. We try to remember to re-read the recipe and envision the order before starting to cook. Then its time to cook! The girls love being involved with scooping, pouring, stirring, and mixing. Check out our blog about our favorite tools for cooking with kids! When possible, we also attempt to wash prep dishes as we go, to make cleanup easier after the meal. 

5. Preparing the Table

mealtime routines - preparing the table

Preparing the table is also an important step in mealtime tasks. We choose which serving dishes to put each recipe of the meal into, and then bring the serving dishes over to the table. Before dinner is served, we ask the girls to set the table. We store kid-friendly plates, utensils, napkins, and cups in locations where the girls can access them independently. They are gradually increasing their independence with this task! Check out our FREE download: Teaching Kids to Complete Routines Independently (which can be used to help coach your kids towards independence with any routines)! 

6. Cleaning the Table Area

mealtime routines - cleaning the table area

Cleaning the table area happens immediately after mealtimes in our home. We have been coaching the girls to carry their dirty plates and cups into kitchen as they’re getting up from the table. Then we wipe off the table and chairs, and sweep the floor. The girls enjoy helping with this part of the cleaning process, as they wipe surfaces with a damp washcloth, and sweep the floor with a small hand broom and dustpan. It is a team effort! Check out our blog about 5 Tips for Tidying with Kids!

7.  Daily Kitchen Cleaning

mealtime routines - daily kitchen cleaning

Cleaning the kitchen is also part of our nightly routine. We wash the food prep dishes, wipe counters, wash dishes, dry dishes, put away dishes, and check (and take out) the trash. Here’s a list of our favorite cleaning tools and products!

8.  Weekly Kitchen Cleaning

Once a week, we also do a deep cleaning of the kitchen. We sanitize counters, sweep and clean the floors, clean appliances, and disinfect the sink. Check out our FREE download: Weekly Cleaning Checklist! It’s our most popular download, and we use the checklist to organize our cleaning tasks for each room in our home.

Thanks for Pinning!

More from Tidy Dad!

 

I'm Tyler Moore 

My wife and I live with our three young girls in a 700-square-foot apartment in New York City. I started Tidy Dad to help others tidy, simplify, and find joy in their lives. I firmly believe the tidying process can transform your life. I’d love for you to join me in exploring ways that tidying can make room for what’s important in life. 


September 13, 2020

Mealtime Routines

Mealtimes are one of the most joyous times of the day for our family! But mealtime routines are complex. There are lots of little mealtime routines, made up of lots of small tasks, that all come together to make mealtimes possible. 

Emily and I recently sat down to think about all of the little mealtime routines that we do every week. The open-ended days of summer are behind us, and a fall season of remote teaching and learning are ahead of us. We’re trying to plan ways to streamline some of our recurring mealtime routines to make them a little bit easier. 

We have also been brainstorming ways to include the girls in some of our mealtime routines, and gradually give them more responsibilities. We want the girls to build skills and learn age-appropriate aspects of our daily mealtime routines. We want the girls to learn that our family is a team and that we all work together to keep the household running.

Our girls LOVE to eat and they also LOVE to help out in the kitchen. With careful modeling, coaching, and reinforcement, they are gradually learning to take on more mealtime routines responsibilities, which helps to make mealtime routines feel like a team effort!

We also have a NEW download available for you: Managing Mealtime Routines as a Team, which breaks down the various aspects of mealtime routines and tasks.

Mealtime Routines and Tasks

1. Meal Planning

mealtime routines - meal planning

Meal planning for the week involves first reading and reviewing the recipes, selecting which meals to make and number of portions, writing out a schedule for which days to serve each recipe, and checking the pantry for ingredients we already have at home. Personally, we have turned over most of our meal planning to Cook Smarts. It is an amazing meal planning service we have used for 3 years, long before Tidy Dad started, but we are now officially proud brand ambassadors. They offer a free 30-day trial, and it is a gift I highly encourage you to give yourself! Cook Smarts provides us with the recipes and ingredient lists for Monday-Thursday, and then we let the girls choose our meal for Friday nights. Check out our blog about our Friday night homemade pizza routine, which is a fun way to end the work week!

2. Grocery Shopping

mealtime routines - grocery shopping

Grocery shopping includes listing what ingredients we need, making a plan for when to purchase ingredients, and then actually purchasing the ingredients. Cook Smarts combines the ingredients for each of their recipes into one list, with spots to add any extra items. We used make small trips to our local grocery store when walking home from school drop-off or walking home from work, and then plan a larger Costco run every few weeks after school. Now we use online grocery shopping with curbside pickup and have the groceries placed directly into our trunk. Whatever method you use, it can be helpful to have a plan for the week and schedule the grocery shopping into your calendar.

3. Meal Prep

mealtime routines - meal prep

Meal prep includes anything that can be prepped in advance, before the cooking process. The girls love helping with this part! We start by gathering the ingredients we need for a recipe and then preparing any ingredients that can be prepped in advance. This typically includes chopping veggies, cooking grains, marinating meat, making spice spices, and making sauces and vinaigrettes. Then we put the prepped ingredients into storage containers and organize the ingredients into the refrigerator, freezer, or pantry. It makes it so much easier and faster when it is actually time to start cooking a meal. Here’s a list of all our favorite products for meal prepping and cooking!

4. Cooking

mealtime routines - cooking

Cooking together is a fun part of our daily routine. We start by gathering our prepped ingredients and prepping any remaining ingredients. We try to remember to re-read the recipe and envision the order before starting to cook. Then its time to cook! The girls love being involved with scooping, pouring, stirring, and mixing. Check out our blog about our favorite tools for cooking with kids! When possible, we also attempt to wash prep dishes as we go, to make cleanup easier after the meal. 

5. Preparing the Table

mealtime routines - preparing the table

Preparing the table is also an important step in mealtime tasks. We choose which serving dishes to put each recipe of the meal into, and then bring the serving dishes over to the table. Before dinner is served, we ask the girls to set the table. We store kid-friendly plates, utensils, napkins, and cups in locations where the girls can access them independently. They are gradually increasing their independence with this task! Check out our FREE download: Teaching Kids to Complete Routines Independently (which can be used to help coach your kids towards independence with any routines)! 

6. Cleaning the Table Area

mealtime routines - cleaning the table area

Cleaning the table area happens immediately after mealtimes in our home. We have been coaching the girls to carry their dirty plates and cups into kitchen as they’re getting up from the table. Then we wipe off the table and chairs, and sweep the floor. The girls enjoy helping with this part of the cleaning process, as they wipe surfaces with a damp washcloth, and sweep the floor with a small hand broom and dustpan. It is a team effort! Check out our blog about 5 Tips for Tidying with Kids!

7.  Daily Kitchen Cleaning

mealtime routines - daily kitchen cleaning

Cleaning the kitchen is also part of our nightly routine. We wash the food prep dishes, wipe counters, wash dishes, dry dishes, put away dishes, and check (and take out) the trash. Here’s a list of our favorite cleaning tools and products!

8.  Weekly Kitchen Cleaning

Once a week, we also do a deep cleaning of the kitchen. We sanitize counters, sweep and clean the floors, clean appliances, and disinfect the sink. Check out our FREE download: Weekly Cleaning Checklist! It’s our most popular download, and we use the checklist to organize our cleaning tasks for each room in our home.

Thanks for Pinning!

More from Tidy Dad!

 

September 13, 2020

Mealtime Routines

About me

Hi, my name is Tyler Moore. My wife and I live with our three young daughters in a 700- square-foot apartment in New York City. I began my tidying journey when an early-30’s crisis invited me to reflect upon, challenge, and change my patterns of daily living. I quit my job as a school administrator, returned to teaching, and started Tidy Dad to help others tidy, simplify, and find joy in their lives. I firmly believe the tidying process can transform your life. I’d love for you to join me in exploring ways that tidying can make room for what’s important in life. 


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