Conflicting Schedules

Our son is in hockey and loves it, but the coach keeps changing the practice schedule on us. Practices used to be right after school, but now they're scheduled so we can’t have dinner as a family anymore. I know eating together as a family is important, but I also want my son to be able to play hockey with his team. I’m not sure how I feel about this. Am I wrong for messing up dinnertime?

Hockey Dad

Dear HD:

There’s no "wrong" or "right" here. We see situations like this all the time! First of all, kudos to you for giving your son the chance to follow his passion. The good news is there are many ways to deal with conflicting schedules and still make family meals a priority. If getting the family together at the dinner table is much like herding cats, try breakfast. Or, brown bag some snacks to take to the practice and eat together during breaks (like the troopers you are). In the long run, though, it might be best to have a chat with the coach about the importance of dinnertime for your family. You're probably not alone in your sentiments.

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  • So true that dinner isn't the only meal that you can eat together. When I work with families with picky eaters we brainstorm all sorts of solutions for having a parent/grandparent eat with the kids. One solution that often works is for families that have a parent who works late or gets home from his/her commute too late for family dinner. It's for the kids to sit at the table for their bedtime snack and Dad/Mom is eating his/her dinner. It's a great way for the family to connect and find out how each other's days went. Kristen Yarker, MSc, dietitian

    Kristen Yarker 12 April 2012, at 5:28 pm