by Matt Alderton | July 13, 2017
Being a working parent isn't easy. Instead of one job, you have two. And let's face it: Sometimes you feel like you're not doing either one very well.

If you're rocking it at work, but feel like you're underperforming at home, there's a simple solution that could go a long way toward strengthening your bond with your children: family dinner.

"Thirty years ago, the average family sat down to dinner together at 6 p.m. after the evening news. But today is different: On a good day, you come home late, you and the kids are hungry, and there's a long evening of nonnegotiable homework and office emails ahead, so you do what works in the short term: takeout, meals gobbled on the go, each of you on a different schedule," says Harvard Business Review contributor Daisy Wademan Dowling. "Reclaim that time and make family meals a workable reality."

That may sound like a tall order, but it doesn't have to be. Start by setting a regular day and time.

"Have a dedicated time, even if it's once a month," Dowling advises. "Sunday lunch or Friday breakfast works just as well as a dinner slot."

To make the meal a shared experience, involve the whole family. "Giving each family member a job (setting the table, filling the water glasses) makes it a team activity," continues Dowling, who also recommends having a "kickoff ritual." "It could be saying grace, clinking glasses, or going around the table and talking about one important thing that happened in your day."

Finally, cut yourself some slack on the food front. "If you're sitting down together over takeout, that's fine," Dowling concludes. "Family dinner is about relationships as much as nutrition."

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Questions, Comments, Suggestions?
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