Tuesday Tip: A Dinner Party With Kids


Usually when we invite over families with kids for dinner we all end up huddled around the kids table, eating while standing, and then entertaining the kids in the living room for the rest of the evening. Which is great and all, but always seems kind of chaotic and not really relaxing for the parents. I tried a few new things a couple weeks ago for a family dinner party that made it so much more easy and enjoyable and thought I’d share them for today’s Tuesday Tip

1. I made a pasta dish beforehand that I kept in the fridge and simply had to pop in the oven for 30 minutes right before the guests arrived. Really, any baked ziti or or lasagna would work here. I made one of my favorite weeknight meals, tomato pesto pasta which is such a cinch to prepare but delicious. I also made plain buttered noodles for some of the pickier kids. One of the guests brought a green salad.

2. I made homemade foccacia bread but most of the time is spent letting it rise. Another quick bake in the oven when the pasta comes out during appetizers.

3. The dessert was also made earlier that day (it was this delicious banana pudding). Even better if it’s made the day before!

So, it was pretty stress-free in the moments before the dinner. I even had time to get dressed and put on lipstick.  We just had to pick up the house (which required a lot of work as always) and set the dining room table.

Here’s the big trick though that made the night:

4. Jared and I fed the kids in the kitchen nook as soon as our guests arrived at 6pm. There were 6 kids, all ages 3-8 with the exception of Edie. Adults were having drinks and digging into the cheese plate in the living room. Once the kids were fed, we put in the movie UP for them and shut the living room doors. Edie was put to bed. It was about 7pm I think at this point. We lit candles and had a nice, quiet, relaxed adult meal at the dining room table (which actually, is a folding table that I put a nice tablecloth on since the dining room is also Jared’s office). Every once in a while a kid would come in for a drink of water or something and sit on their parent’s lap for a bit, but for the most part they were all chilled out watching the movie. When it was dessert time we invited them to our table. It worked so well, we’ll definitely have to try it again.

Any dinner party tricks with kids up your sleeve?

PS A kid-friendly cheese plate is great for these kind of family dinner parties

More Tuesday Tip ideas right here (a relatively new series where I focus on simple, smart ideas for family life)



We have a similar plan but instead of setting up a kids table, we set up a kids “picnic” on the living room floor. They eat a picnic style meal of homemade pizza or pasta or mac and cheese an things like fruit, and steamed veggies. I have a staff of “to-go” cups with lids and straws and make up an sparkling apple cider with seltzer water. Then we put on the movie and the adults eat at the dining room table in peace!

I arrived here from Oh Happy Day and I love it!

Totally behind the idea of a kids’ table/nook. We’ve done the same thing numerous times, with occasional episodes of guilt-induced “let’s all eat together!” followed by coming to my senses for the next time.

We host a Christmas Eve brunch every year, and after seeing our friendship group swell from 2 or 3 kids to 20+ (many years later), we finally decided to hire babysitters. GENIUS! Sure, there was still a bit of intermingling and mild needs from kids to parents, but that wasn’t the point. Having someone else in charge of the kids (in a different area of the house) took the stress off of the parents and solved all of the “I just need one more cracker” interruptions that get tiresome. I think a movie is a very suitable evening childcare alternative!

Wait, how old are your kids? I love this idea but don’t see it working with the toddlers in our set. Thanks!

HI J! I mentioned in the post but the kids were ages 3-8 with the exception of Edie who went to bed when the adults started their dinner 🙂

Its such a great idea to attend to the kids first and then distract them with something like a movie 🙂 These are some lucky kids.
My parents were much more strict, we were not allowed to come to dinner at any one else’s home unless we behaved, otherwise we were stuck with the grandparents, so we always sat quietly at the dinner table and then played with the other kids afterwards.

I love that, part of me kind of felt bad for excluding them but then i was like HEY every meal is kid meal. Give us something here!

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