These days, it’s pretty evident how eating meals together as a family doesn’t happen that often anymore. Unless there is a special occasion or holiday, not many find themselves cooking and sitting together at the table for a hearty meal and engaging conversation. It happens for various reasons, such as having different schedules, long work or commute hours, homework, etc. Because of this, most, if not all, resort to eating meals alone.
However, the sooner you realize the importance of family mealtime, the better the chances of the whole family reaping its benefits. It doesn’t need to be fancy, as you can start with some light dinner ideas to engage the family. It may be bothersome to prepare dinner after a long and tiring day at work or doing chores at home, and it may be the only time when everyone can make an effort to dine together.
What are the Advantages of Shared Family Mealtime?
Whether you want it to be a breakfast or dinner tradition is up to you. But let’s talk about the various benefits you and your loved ones can get from partaking in regular family meals.
1. Kids can learn healthy eating habits
As a parent, you want to ensure that your kids eat healthily. Preparing meals rich in nutrients from all five food groups and keeping watch with what they eat is highly recommended to promote better eating habits. Educating them young can ensure they eat vegetables and fruits and consume less sugary and fast food meals. As an adult, parents can be role models when it comes to trying new foods and able to prevent eating disorders from occurring.
2. Teaches them necessary social skills
At an early age, teaching them excellent eating habits and developing social skills is essential. Family mealtimes can be a way for parents to teach the kids some manners, share responsibility, develop patience, and many more. It can start with helping prepare and plating the meals to passing dishes and many more. Though these skills aren’t learned overnight and need constant reminding, shared family time can be a start.
3. Family members can talk and participate in conversations
When everyone is preoccupied with social media and others, shared meal times can be an opportunity for everyone to relax, put down their phones, and engage in a conversation with other people around the table. It helps promote connection and social interaction between family members and makes them better communicators as they participate in discussing serious, fun, and other current issues. In addition, eating and talking with one another helps them become more open in sharing their feelings as they know it’s a safe environment.
4. Regularly sharing meals helps kids get better academic performance
Did you know that children can learn just by sharing a meal? As a parent, you may not realize it, but your kids can hear new vocabulary words from you and learn something from the discussions and explanations. Allowing them to speak and contribute their ideas can boost their confidence, which can help them speak up in classes. Parents can also ask their kids about their life at school, homework, tests, and many more.
5. It makes an excellent bonding time for the whole family
Family members sharing meals allows the opportunity to catch up with one another, share a laugh or two, tell exciting or sad news, and many more. It’s a time when family traditions can be learned and passed down from one generation to another. It helps maintain positive relationships with everyone as they bond through happy and sad experiences for the day and many more.
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Though the family is busy with work, school, and house chores, it’s ideal to have a family dinner set on a regular schedule. Just look at how valuable shared family time is. If you haven’t had one recently, it’s time to call the whole family and set it up.