Ever experienced a "worst-case scenario" with your kids at a family dinner? Here are some holiday meal sanity savers from parents like you.
A version of this article appeared in our December 2012 issue with the headline "Family dinners," p. 22.
"Last Christmas, my mom set up a kids' table with a gingerbread train filled with healthy snacks. They were thrilled to have their own special spot."
— Alicia Kowalewski, Art Director, Today's Parent Magazine
"When there are lots of kids involved, we let them play right up until it's time to eat. After they've had enough, they can go play again until dessert. It works great because they are not confined to their seats."
- Sarah Nason, Hillsborough, NB
"Shape food into faces, animals or vehicles, and let the kids drink from plastic wine glasses. The creative food makes eating more fun, and the glasses will make them feel (and hopefully act) more grown up."
— Emma Garratt, Northamptonshire, UK
"Use a plain white tablecloth for the kids' table, and let them use fabric markers to decorate it before and after dinner. Use it year after year, and have kids write their holiday wishes as they get older."
— Ashley Dinan, Burlington, ONT.
"This may not be a popular choice, but we put on a movie for the kids in the family room so they can eat their dinner while watching. There's plenty of time for visiting with grandparents, aunts and uncles before and after dinner."
— Lisa Castillo, London, ONT.
"Use colouring sheets and mini chalkboards as placemats for kids. They make great entertainment and give little ones something to do before and after eating."
— Lisa Peters-Cornelissen, Aurora, ONT.
"I usually feed my boys ahead of time, and pack tons of snacks that I know they love in case they don't eat what's being served."
— Ashley Bernier, Newmarket, ONT.
Keep up with your baby's development, get the latest parenting content and receive special offers from our partners