Stop The Dinner Time Insanity

While raising  my second set of kids I became THAT MOM! THAT MOM  that took orders for dinner. THAT MOM that made my  husband and I one dinner and my 3 girls a separate dinner each; therefore making at least 4 dinners a night! For 7 years I allowed my girls to be ‘picky’ and tell ME what THEY wanted for dinner. This finally ended when my husband came to me one day and said to ‘STOP the dinner time insanity’ and that enough was enough.

When we told the girls of our plans to no longer make multiple meals at dinner time, they were not thrilled. My oldest daughter was not terribly unhappy about it, but was not thrilled about certain foods that I may serve. The baby, little Bella, was oblivious. The real challenge was going to come with my middle child, Gia. This child has certain foods that she will eat such as strawberries, grilled cheese, pizza, macaroni and cheese, chips, and maybe a few other foods; not many though. 

We explained to the girls that it was time to ‘grow up’ and help mom and dad out with not having to spend so much time in the kitchen and it would also make for nice family meals. On a side note, I only make dinners around 3 days a week so they were not going to be ‘tortured’ every day. 

Before our first official family meal I went to Kohl’s and surprised them with their very own cute little plates. My hope was that it would help them accept the new dinner time plan. 

I made sure that the first meal that I made was kid friendly; cheeseburgers and macaroni. In an effort to get my Gia interested I had her help me make the burger patties. 


Each family meal was full of stress, it was definitely not what I hoped for or envisioned when I thought of what family meals should be. My husband and I sounded like broken records; eat, stop whining, it doesn’t taste gross, hush, stop crying, do you want to be grounded, etc… It was not pleasant and may have made for a great YouTube video! 

As a result of our, at least 3 day a week, family meal times my girls have accepted that they are expected to eat or at least try what is served on their plates. It has gotten easier, not perfect, but much easier and I am so thankful that my husband stepped in and demanded that the insanity be put to an end. Even though these first few meals were not stress free, we will not give up because this can only help our girls grow and our hair to stop changing colors. My husband and I have agreed that the dinner time insanity has to stop. 

Do you have any meal time challenges in your household? How do you handle them?



  1. Too cute! It’s nice to hear that others struggle with dinner time with their kids. I try to cook and eat healthy for my entire family including organic most of the time. However, my oldest daughter, 3, is so picky and getting her to eat is such a challenge, but a necessity. I do cook family dinner most of the time for everyone, with fun plates for the girls, but there are those times where a good ol’ PBJ is the fix. Great post and darling kids! BTW, my kids LOVE corn on the cobb and prefer to eat it off the cobb!

  2. I never cooked separate meals for my kids. Even though my older one was a very picky I made sure everyone eat the meal I cooked.

  3. Toni Patton says

    I am that mom too, except now I keep corn dogs and frozen pizza in the freezer. That way the nights they don’t like what I make, they can make their own dinner but they have to eat whatever veggie is with the main meal LOL

  4. I’m the picky one at my house. My kids were great about trying stuff, but I flat-out refuse. I’m such a pain!

  5. My meal time challenge is not w/the kids. I eat at the table each night with the kids, and then hubby wants a meal at 8:30 or 9 (my bedtime on a school night, lol). He eats lunch late in the day and isn’t hungry until then. I’ve tried many times over many years to get him to eat at the table with us, I even scooched our dinnertime down as far as was comfy for school children, but to no avail. I don’t like it, but it is what it is. Congrats to you on moving forward with your challenge!

  6. Teresa Moody says

    Looks like a fun time cooking. My kids are kindof picky eaters.

  7. I lived with friends that had twin girls and a young son… each child ate something different for dinner and us adults had a “grown up meal” it was CRAZY! I can’t imagine playing short order cook for tiny humans! I don’t even like to do it for my picky eater husband! LOL

  8. Looks like the kids had so much fun preparing their meal. I never do a separate meal for my kids but they are not picky at all or have food restrictions.

  9. Alvina Castro says

    My son is luckily a really good eater and ive learned gow to avoid the grouchyness and introduce new foods i hope he likes but back away on some as well.

  10. I never did a seperate meal for the kids from the adult meal. I always made one meal and they had to eat it or go hungry. But even then we’ve had meal time battles. I blame Grandma! SHe always gave in and spoiled the kids when we visited. So for some reason they think they get the same treatment at home. Nope! I cook ONE meal. They eat it or go hungry. But we had to tack on extra warnings. If they choose NOT to eat it; they also loose privileges around the house like TV time and video games. I have been known to say multiple times a week, “I am NOT a short order cook!”.

  11. My husband does all of our cooking (yes, lucky me!) and he was running into this insanity with our little one. Finally, he put his foot down too and now we all eat the same thing. Like you said, the switch makes all the difference and I love your idea for involving the kids in the change.

  12. Casa Vilora Interiors says

    Wow! I can’t even imagine making that much different meals. My kids fend for themselves for the most part now. I eat raw, so I definitely don’t even cook.

  13. I’m assuming that is Gia that is making the adorably upset face? I credit my love of new and unusual foods to being forced to eat whatever my parents made. More power to you!

    • Ha Ha!!! My sweet sweet middle child Gia .. YES! She is my difficult one! My oldest will eat but small portions… my baby will eat but tends to get distracted and Ms. Gia is just wanting french fries.

  14. Celebrity VIP Lounge says

    We have that picky child too. Not ever easy! Amber N

  15. My daughter has celiac and doesn’t like meat, while my husband and son are almost entirely carnivorous. Pleasing everyone can be hard sometimes!

  16. I don’t have a child but I have a very picky other half – never quite know what to feed him.

  17. Growing up, we only had the one meal plan so it was to eat or not to eat. When there is no choice, I find with my girls they end up trying new foods and liking a lot more.

  18. Tough Cookie Mommy says

    My eight year old is a very picky eater and we often make different food to accommodate him. It is really a hassle at times.

    • Last summer we encouraged our middle child to make a list of every food she has tried.. It really really helped! I even paid her a bit as a reward for her courage.

  19. It’s amusing to read about this because I totally remember me and my sister doing this with my mom when we were little. In Italy, however, kids eat exactly what the parents eat from the very start! Thank goodness because one meal takes long enough!

  20. I am so lucky my kids will eat just about anything you put in front of them with out a fuss.We always make sure everyone has the same well apart from me most of the time lol.

  21. I don’t have kids but I just wanted to say that is one adorable plate 🙂

  22. Oh my goodness. My niece and nephew are so picky. We have tried everything to get them to eat their veggies and such and they won’t. I like this plan. Great job! You have a super neat blog

  23. Michelle Orsi says

    So cute! I am a super picky eater too – but I think I would eat anything off of those adorable plates!

  24. Jessica DiGiannurio says

    omg that face LOL priceless 🙂 xo, jess @

  25. Look at your daughter’s face on the first picture! LOL! My youngest daughter is a very picky eater like me and my oldest is like a garbage disposal! LMAO! But trying to get my youngest daughter to eat is like pulling teeth!

  26. Shirley Wood says

    My daughter is going through this now with her 5 children. I sympathize. My Mother did not prepare multiple meals. I didn’t either. I just continued to introduce more foods to my girls as they continued to get older. I made sure to cook something they would eat but to also introduce other foods as well.

  27. YES! My two youngest kids are picky eaters. We stopped making separate meals a while ago. The rule is that if you don’t eat what’s served at dinner, you don’t get a snack later. Crazy, but the youngest two will voluntarily go hungry! Hoping they just grow out of that – nobody is malnourished here! I give them “nugget night” one night per week so they feel like I’m still giving them something they like! Hang in there!

  28. I have only done separate meals on nights when it is something my kids have tried but did not like. I never force them to eat things they have tried and do not like until they are older when I insist they try it again. Good luck with your transition.

  29. The only time I was ever “that mom” was when my younger son had to stay away from certain foods because of intolerances.. tomatoes was one of those, so when I made spaghetti I would also make white sauce, or when I made pizza I would make one without sauce for him. I never went out of the way to make them separate things. I do make enough of a variety of things so they will all eat something tho.

  30. All of my kids are pretty good about eating what I cook except Little M– she loves her snacks and would rather eat snacks all day instead of complete meals. Now that she gets her way, I’ve noticed that the boys are trying to do the same thing. Insane! I’m going to have to try the special plate thing with her and see if that works. So glad it’s healthy snacks and not junk or we would be at the dentist non stop 🙂

  31. My six year old is the pickiest eater of all time. Honestly, I have kind of given up. If he wants to live on hot dogs and chicken nuggets – so be it.

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