Getting your whole family together for a good ol’ old fashion family dinner isn’t always easy. With conflicting schedules, cranky kids, and getting through the dinner itself without an argument between kids can prove to be an impossible task at times. We’ve outlined a few tips for making your family dinners the best they can be.

Create a routine

Create a routine that works for your family every night where you can all sit down, eat dinner together, talk about everyone’s days, and have some family bonding time. Though you might run into conflicting schedules periodically, it’s still important to try and prioritize coming together at the end of the day. Creating a habit of this will help your family prioritize this sliver of time to spend with each other.

Ask questions

Depending on the age range of your family, coming up with questions that everyone can discuss together can be simple or tricky. If this is something you find difficult, take some time to come up with questions beforehand that you think it would be of interest to everyone. Make sure your four-year-old feels just as included as your teenager! Good questions can lead to great conversations that bring everyone closer together.

Hold one conversation at a time

Make a rule that there can only be one conversation being held at the table at once. This is especially important in bigger families where it’s easy for people to break off in smaller discussions, often leading to people feeling left out. One strong conversation should allow everyone to have a chance to talk, feel included, and be less overwhelming.

Learn what meals your family gets most excited for

A huge part of having a “successful” is cooking food that the majority of your family enjoys. Don’t stress about coming up with new recipes every week to keep things fresh and different. Make a list of a handful of options you know your family likes, and rotate through those with an occasional new recipe! Why battle complaints about new dishes when you could serve the classic family favorites and enjoy each other’s company?

Spending time with your family and loved ones comes first. The little details like what you’re eating, where everyone is seated, or how many cups of soda someone may have had at the table? Not so much. Play things by ear, and over time you’ll figure out what works best at your family dinners.