In the Sorting Out Screen Time class that I’m currently teaching, we spend some time each class getting really specific and practical about how to create the changes we want to make in our families.

For one mom in the class, this meant finding alternatives to videos to occupy her two boys while she prepared dinner. She described this time – after school activities were over, but before the nighttime routine started – as a sort of “witching hour,” where her boys would argue and seem unable to figure out what to do with themselves. Her solution to this was to let them watch a video. However, she noticed that, while one of her boys had no trouble transitioning to dinner after the video was over, for the other boy watching one video led to what she described as an “addictive” type of behavior, where he had a hard time leaving the video behind and begged to watch more.

With the support of her classmates, she brainstormed ideas and came up with the idea of having her sons help her in the kitchen. Having your children work alongside you in the kitchen, from a very early age, can be a wonderful solution to the common issue of late-afternoon irritability and sibling squabbling.

In my kitchen, one of the most coveted jobs is the making of salad dressing; with all it’s ingredients and textures and measuring cups and spoons, it evokes the feeling of concocting a potion, and my boys just love it. And it’s helpful! And delicious!

Here is one of my favorite salad dressing recipes to try out in your home:

Maple Apple Vinaigrette
From Clean Food by Terry Walters

1 garlic clove, minced
1 shallot, minced
1 tbsp apple butter
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp mustard
2 tsp dried dill
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tbsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
¼ c red wine vinegar
½ c olive oil
salt & pepper

Place all ingredients in bowl and whisk together. Add water 1 tbsp at a time to thin to desired consistency.

*note: depending on the age and steadiness of your child, you may want to measure out/pour the olive oil.

Bon Appetit!