Family Dinner

Dad’s Guide to Mastering the Art of Sunday Dinner

In Fatherhood by The Unexpected Dad0 Comments

Sunday and dinner, two of my favorite things. Put them together and you have something special! Sunday dinner conjures up thoughts of good food, good conversation and good family time. Most of the time we whip up something quick to eat after a full day of chores, outings and maybe even work. Let’s do something different and have Sunday dinner with our families!

How do we get back to the time-honored tradition of Sunday Dinner? Step up dads! A Sunday evening meal is a fantastic opportunity to reconnect with your family.

Notify Your Family

If regular Sunday dinners are not something you currently do, then it may be somewhat of a shock to your family. After all, you have never done this before, why start now?

Let your family know that on an upcoming Sunday, you will be sitting down as a family to eat dinner. Set a specific date and stick to it. If it’s going to be a regular occurrence let them know that as well. Make sure that you present dinner as an opportunity to relax and spend some down-time together. If your family is use to having meals “on the go”, then scheduled dinner time may seem like a chore. Be positive and upbeat when you talk about your plans.

Set the Ground Rules

Setting rules may seem unnecessary, however if your family is not in the practice of having dinner together, rules are a must.  They can be as simple as:

  • No phones at the table
  • No talking about work (this means you too dad)
  • No television while eating
  • Everyone sits down together when mealtime starts
  • Everyone gets up together when mealtime ends

Add or subtract rules as appropriate for your family.

Plan the Meal

If you don’t consider yourself to be much of a cook, don’t worry about it. There are plenty of meals you can make that are very easy. One of my favorite meals is either a beef or pork roast; there are plenty of articles online on how to prepare them. For the most part a roast is pretty simple, especially if you have a slow cooker.

Another simple and great meal is spaghetti.  Check out my recipe for Dad’s Awesome Spaghetti Sauce.  Whatever you decide to do, make sure you plan ahead and allow enough time to prepare the food (for example, the spaghetti sauce will take 4-5 hours to cook).

Prepare and Serve the Meal

Here’s where the rubber meets the road:  The execution.  Before you start cooking make sure you understand the recipe and have all your ingredients.  If your children are able to help, enlist them to help.  The entire process from planning to eating can be a fun family event.

Tip:  If at all possible, give mom a break and let her sit out the prep work (unless she wants to be part of the action).

Timing can be difficult, especially if you have the whole family waiting on you.  Remember to have fun and don’t get stressed out if things aren’t working perfectly.

10-15 minutes before the food being ready, inform everyone that it is time to gather in the dining area.


  • Review the ground rules.
  • Get volunteers to help set the table.
  • Get volunteers to help serve the food (as necessary).
  • Sit down and eat.

Sunday family dinner is meant to be a fun and relaxing time where you and your family can enjoy each other’s company.  I think it is important to set the ground rules, but be flexible.  Don’t be so rigid with the rules that dinner time seems like another chore.  Even if the food turns out not so great, laugh about it and have a good time.  You will get better with the cooking the more times you do it.

Please comment and let us know how your Sunday dinner went!

The Unexpected Dad

The Unexpected Dad

My name is Paul and I am The Unexpected Dad.My wife and I married late in life and we didn’t really expect to have children (thus the title of my blog). We weren’t opposed to the idea of having children, but just assumed that it was not in the cards for us.

I write about the rather unexpected journey of fatherhood, please join me!

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