E is for Everybody helps with Supper

That is what I say when it comes to getting supper on the table!  It is an Everybody affair.  The table needs to be set, the salad needs to be made, and of course there is the main course.  Usually that is the parent responsibility.  But the kids are getting there very quickly!  They have learned to cut up veggies like nobody’s business, and are a big help when it comes to making things like soup or spaghetti sauce.  As parents we don’t realise it, but it pays off in the end if you let that helpful 3 year old help get things ready for supper (or lunch).  They can wash  veggies, set the table (with help), and help clear.  While you may have to put in an extra 15 minutes on the prep end and then another 15 minutes on the clean up end for a few years, it will pay off in the long run.  Now, my two are 8 and 10 and they are reasonably helpful at supper time, and quite capable of managing their own lunches in the morning (because they have helped to put away the leftovers after supper!).  Of course  I still have to nag (I am a parent not a magician and my children are FAR from perfect!).  But they know what to do, and do a reasonable job of getting on with helping get on with supper. 
Tips:
Make a list of jobs and let them choose a few each week.  Then rotate each week so that they aren’t stuck with the same chores all the time.
Assign one parent or older child to manage the main dish. 
Chop all your veggies for the week at one time and store in the refrigerator.
Create a weekly menu that everyone can see (ie on the fridge!), so that on your late nights you are not responsible for getting everyone fed as well!  Take input from family members when making menus, that way you aren’t feeling the “brain drain” when it comes to making the menu.

Happy Packing!

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