My view of time is similar to money. I want the best out of what I spend. When we were both teachers and had two preschool-aged children, time was very important. I would love to have spent all my time cooking and reading or playing with my kids, but it was impossible.

We found the solution in weekly menu planning, reminding everyone to take meat out of the freezer each morning before school, and having everyone help with dish preparation. Due to school projects and other sports, my husband was unable to help as much.

Meal prep was a great way for my children to learn many things. They learned how to measure accurately, set the table properly, and take turns when Dad was calling them to the table. I also learned everything about the daycare, and what was going on in their heads as they stirred.

It was convenient to have our dining table away from the TV so that it was easier to not be distracted when it was time for dinner. According to a CBS News survey, 33% of families text, e mail, or watch TV while they eat. With smaller children this is easier to control, and in such cases a family rule may be necessary.

Sometimes we had to alter the mealtimes in order to meet Dad’s coaching or refereeing schedules. He would often have to travel out of town so we had to prepare a couple of kids recipes. We enjoyed a lot goulash and mac ‘n’ cheesy during these times. Kurt got to be Dad, and sat at the head. I have always believed that it was important for us to maintain a regular routine.