Why Family Meals are Important
Family meals are an excellent way for parents to connect with children. There are several studies that show many benefits of eating with your children even if it is only a couple times a week. These meals not only benefit the children but help parents.
If you want to reduce family tension and lower stress eating with your children will help to improve this. Parents are better able to recognize problems or concerns and give their advice. Children of all ages will feel more comfortable sharing their problems and asking for help or advice.
- Positive impact of values for children
- Encourages self-esteem
- Encourages motivation
- Children learn good manners
- Preschool children have better language skills. They listen to conversations while they are eating and they imitate what they hear.
- Children do better on tests and in school in general
- Improves communication with your children
- Positive effects on all children and their development as a person
- Gives children an academic edge
- Teens who consistently eat with their parents are less likely to drink alcohol and the use of tobacco products.
- Eating as a family will discourage children from trying or using drugs
- Expands children’s vocabulary and reading skills
- Children will feel like parents are proud of them
- Increased chance of graduating high school
It is hard in today’s society to find time to carry out sharing a family meal together, especially a few times a week. Long work days, after-school activities and everything else life brings your way can make it very difficult to plan something additional into your schedule, but the benefits will be worth it.
Below are a few tips to help you work this essential habit into your busy schedule.
- As a parent set a goal each week (a few meals together are much better than none at all)
- Write a list when you go grocery shopping. This way you will have all the food you need on hand.
- Prepare all the food for the week
- Plan simple meals Use a crockpot to save time Look up new simple recipes with your children
Get everyone involved in making the meal. Children can help prepare the food, shop for the food and help set the table. They will feel better about eating the meal if they know they helped contribute to it. Make extra food so it can be used again for another meal.
Tips for Encouraging Conversation
- Ask about everyone’s day. The positive things that happened, the negative things that happened. How they felt when these things happened. Talk about current events and local events.
- Be an active listener. Give advice when it is appropriate. Talk about school and work. Ask about interests, whether it be something in school, sports or plans for the weekend.
The nutritional benefits of eating a family meal together are it creates habits for kids to carry into adulthood. Most of the time it helps the parent and child eat healthier, especially since the food is prepared at home vs. eating out. When eating at home children become more open-minded about eating new and different foods By making better food choices children are less likely to be overweight or obese and are less likely to have an eating disorder.
Another critical factor when utilizing family meals is to disconnect from all electronics. These days everyone is always looking at their phone, video games, computer, television or any other electric device. This time is for listening to each other and not being distracted. You cannot work on having a family connection if you are focusing on everything but your family. Generations before us never missed a meal with their families. They were just as busy but in a different aspect of life. They worked on farms, in the factories whereas today we have long commutes and work longer hours away from home. These meals teach valuable life lessons for the children and help the parent to be a part of their lives.
Family dinners have a significant influence on children and parents. These meals influence children’s nutrition, education and their communication skills. The meals allow children to have a voice or opinion in their family. They will feel like they fit in and it will help them find out who they are as a person. This small habit you create within your family will benefit children well into adulthood. It will be something they carry over into their children’s lives. It will not only have a positive impact on their lives, but it will carry over into society. Family meals influence all aspects of you and your children’s lives in a positive way. So, what are you having for dinner?