It seems that the culture of family dining is rapidly dying out. Very few families still enjoy eating together regularly. Here are 5 reasons why you should try to sit down together every week, whether for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Reason #1: Communication and Well-Being
Conversations during the meal provide opportunities for the family to bond, plan, connect, and learn from one another. It’s a chance to share information and news of the day, as well as give extra attention to your children and teens. Family meals foster warmth, security and love, as well as feelings of belonging. It can be a unifying experience for all.
Reason #2: Model Manners (and more)
Family mealtime is the perfect opportunity to display appropriate table manners, meal etiquette, and social skills. It is also the best time for parents to teach children table manners and correct them where they’re wrong. Keep the mood light, relaxed, and loving. Try not to instruct or criticize—lead by example.
Reason #3: Nourish
Meals prepared and eaten at home are usually more nutritious and healthy. They contain more vegetables along with additional nutrients such as fibre, calcium, vitamins A and C. Home cooked meals are more satisfying and they usually don’t contain questionable ingredients or artificial seasonings. It is also cheaper to eat at home than out and the sweetened beverage consumption is usually lower at the dinner table.
Reason #4: Become Self-Sufficient
Children today are missing out on the importance of knowing how to plan and prepare meals. Basic cooking, baking, and food preparation are necessities for being self-sufficient. Involve your family in menu planning, grocery shopping, and food preparation. Young children can tear lettuce, cut bananas, and set the table. Teenagers can dice, chop, bake, and grill. Working as a team puts the meal on the table faster, as well as makes everyone more responsible and accepting of the outcome. Improved eating habits come with “ownership” of a meal.
Reason #5: Prevent Destructive Behaviours
Research shows that frequent family dinners (five or more a week), are associated with lower rates of smoking, drinking, and illegal drug use in pre-teens and teenagers when compared to families that eat together two or fewer times per week. Even as older children’s schedules get more complicated, it is important to make an effort to eat meals together. Scheduling is a must.
Make time to eat with your family today. Families who eat together stay together.