From soccer practice and music lessons to late nights at the office and more, it can be hard enough to get home in time to say good night, let alone share a meal together. With hectic schedules becoming the new norm for many families, sitting at the dinner table for family meals has turned into a rare occurrence. However, there are several wonderful benefits that take place during family dinner time, which is why enforcing it should go on your to-do list starting today.
When’s the last time you actually sat down and had a conversation with your child instead of texting? A lack of communication between family members has been shown to increase depression, poor grades, and even dangerous and unhealthy life choices. Talking about your day over dinner can bring a family closer together while also boosting a child’s self-esteem and language skills.
Growing up, many of us heard the words “get your elbows off the table” at least a dozen times during dinner. Children today are less likely to be taught proper table etiquette because they often dine on-the-go or in front of the television. Family dinner time is the perfect excuse to teach your children several lessons, like which fork to use for each course, how to properly slice their food, and when to avoid inappropriate jokes.
Sitting down to a home-cooked family meal is usually much healthier than dining on take-out or processed boxed foods. Children and their parents are more likely to choose healthier options like fruits, vegetables, and proteins when they dine together as a family. Eating food slowly while conversing also gives the body a chance to feel full quicker which can aid in maintaining a healthy weight.
A Sense of Belonging
Children that don’t eat dinner with their families are more likely to feel a sense of loneliness, and they may feel like their parents don’t care about them. Giving each family member a task during meal time such as setting the table or tossing the salad can give a child a sense of purpose. Not only does it teach them responsibility, it makes them feel like part of a team and that they belong to something bigger than just themselves.
When it comes to family bonding, family dinner time is a great opportunity to connect with your children and encourage them to trust and respect you. Dinner is a time for interaction, and when possible, you should strive to eat together around a table rather than alone in front of a television.