Three Reasons I’m for the Family Meal
I am a child of the 70’s.
I grew up in an era of family dinners, women only working inside the home, and jobs being truly 9-5 pm.
Needless to say life is strikingly different now.
Many women work outside the home. Kids are overscheduled with activities. And it’s pretty much a pipedream to even be home by 6 pm.
As a result, we (the royal) tend to go our separate ways at dinnertime and the family meal has become lost.
This eating at disparate times is not a good thing for our families or our connections to partners/spouses.
Studies show toddlers acquire eating habits through modeling. Ok, this is really a study of my home, but you get the idea. Younger children mimic what they see. A screen-free, mindfully eaten, well mannered, quality conversation-filled meal together is one of the best teaching tools around.Allow me to elaborate.
Studies show school-aged children share at mealtime. Disclosure: Another study from my domicile, yet I believe it’s applicable across the board. Not only do family meals offer teaching moments (being part of a family means helping prepare/clean up meals etc.), they provide ample opportunity for conversational-games. These chatty games help parents/adults gain insight into children’s days.
Studies show teens that eat regular family dinners are less likely to use alcohol or drugs. The data here isn’t completely clear as to why, but it seems bonds created by gathering frequently as a family encourage teens to be more open with parents. In addition, I’d venture to guess the more time one spends with teens the more we’d be able to tell/notice if something is amiss.
All that said: we never eat family dinners.
When I became a mom I quickly realized family dinners didn’t work for my early rising, late at the office trio.
As a result, I implemented the family breakfast.
While other families are sleeping or muddling through their mornings we make the time to gather as a family. We sit sans-screens, chat about the happenings of yesterday and share what we’re looking forward to that day.
It’s a time to teach (as we prepare food together), talk (about anything & everything), and get ready to take on a new day.
And you know what?
This family mealtime works with our lifestyle. I firmly believe we are reaping all the nighttime family meal benefits and a bonus is it sets the tone for all three of our days perfectly.
What do you think?
• Are you a believer in the family meal? Do you contend it must be dinner?
• Have a ‘conversation-starter’ game for family mealtime you’d care to share?
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