Our family makes it home around 6pm every day and with school about to start we’re trying hard to get the children in bed no later than 7:15. That leaves us precious little time to have dinner, read books, cuddle, brush teeth, and cuddle some more, especially when the 3-year-old takes an hour to eat her dinner.
The other day, tired of saying “please eat your dinner” every three seconds and impatient to read a new book that had arrived in the mail that afternoon, I sat down at the table and just started reading. When the little one put her fork down and stopped eating, I stopped reading. When she picked up her fork and slipped a carrot into her mouth I started again.
By the time I had read through two books her plate was empty, I wasn’t irritated that I’d had to beg and cajole for dinner to get eaten, and we had read two more books than any other evening that week. Everyone skipped off to get into their pajamas and to brush their teeth with a smile and a giggle, leaving the usual grumbling in the dust.
It might be too soon to celebrate this small victory, but I might be on to something. A few more evenings like these and I might have found a way to both shorten and sweeten our evening routine.