Term time mealtime struggles

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A big challenge parents face is changing teatime routines when children go back to school.

New research from HelloFresh UK has found that despite 73 per cent of British parents saying that it’s really important for them to enjoy teatime on school nights as a family, on average families only get to eat together three times a week, with over a quarter of parents struggling to get their family eating tea together.

With time on screens becoming more ingrained into children’s lives, this has also changed the battles parents face every day at teatime, where three in ten parents said that screens (iPads, phones, computer games) are the biggest distraction for their children at the table, with almost a quarter even admitting they let their children have screens during the meal.

There’s further hassle with the evening meal as over half of parents said that they struggle to get their family eating the same food, with one in five adding that they cook multiple dinners every evening to work around their children’s busy evening schedules.

Every parent has an endless number of household chores and evening tasks to complete and for British parents, almost half agree that sourcing, preparing and cooking the family tea is the most stressful task during school term evenings, with 47 per cent claiming they cut corners and don’t have time to scratch cook, so use what’s in the freezer.

As well as sorting dinner, topping the stressful to-do list is; clearing up after dinner (44 per cent), helping with homework (39 per cent) and doing bath time for their children (31 per cent) - the research found that on average, parents spend longer clearing up after dinner (37 minutes), than spending one-on-one time with their children on school evenings (31 minutes).

It comes as no surprise that parents are suffering from the ‘School Night Slog’ during term-time.

Defined as feeling stressed during the school week because of the array of activities and household jobs that lead to busy, stressful evenings.

Andre Dupin, Head Chef at HelloFresh UK said of the findings: “It’s a massive juggling act for parents during the school term, who are pulled from pillar to post and constantly thinking about the things that must get done in the evening.

“We’re not surprised to see that families are struggling to eat together and parents’ quality time with their children is scarce.”