Tell me. Honestly. When was the last time your family sat down and enjoyed meaningful conversations over a meal?
Is the classic family dinner a thing of the past? Is it only something we watch on television now?
I get it. In today’s households you’re left to juggle work, family, and marriage. You’ve got your own schedule and your kids have their own schedules too – music lessons, sports practice, school work! It’s tough to find the time, but it’s still important.
There are short-term and long-term benefits to eating together as a family. Here are 7 reasons why your family should sit down together, 5-6 times a week, whether breakfast, lunch or dinner.
1. Quality communication time
Having a daily time to sit down together to bond, connect and learn from one another only strengthens your family. If it becomes a routine, it can provide a sense of belonging and security for your children. Family meals together foster love, security and a sense of unity.
Share information, ask thoughtful questions, and get to know one another. For example, “what do you love about yourself?” or “If you could give a million people one word of advice, what would you say?”. Here are 21 more questions to help spark meaningful conversations.
2. Manners exemplified
Grab the opportunity to display appropriate table manners, meal etiquette and social skills. Your children will notice and learn from you – their role model. You don’t have to instruct or criticize, simply lead by example. This keeps the mood light and relaxed.
3. Expand their world… One cuisine at a time
Every family has their favourite staple foods. It’s exciting to mix it up with new food from different cultures/countries. You can your children to try new foods, without forcing, coercing, or bribing. Pair new food along with some staple favourites so if they don’t like it, they can still eat what their favourites.
Trying new food expands your child’s mind, knowledge, and social skills. It also gives them something to look forward to. You can start by trying the more popular choices – Mexican, Thai, or Chinese.
4. Becoming self-sufficient
Let your children join you in preparing the meal. Children today miss out on the importance of knowing how to plan and prepare meals – a good skill to learn earlier. Teach them basic cooking, baking and meal-prep so they can be self-sufficient. Working together helps get the food on the table faster and makes it even more special to enjoy.
5. Relieving stress, increasing well-being
Sitting down as a family, telling stories and having a laugh can be a huge stress-reliever for you and your whole family. If you spend long hours at the office, spending quality time together can reduce the stress and strain from your job.
6. Better nutrition
Being in control of the food, allows you to make more nutritious and healthy meals. Adding more vegetables, fruits or dairy products and reducing soda and fried foods. You can also control the portions. Food at restaurants are usually more than what’s required. With home-cooked meals, you can eat healthy food at good portions.
7. Saving money
A standard meal out for a family of 5 costs approximately $100, while a home-cooked meal would cost significantly less. You can cook in batches which will also help stretch the groceries and money.
Bonus: A chance to pray together
Sometimes, family meals are the only time you get to spend together. Take the opportunity to pray together and put God first as a family.
“The family that eats together, stays together.” As cliche as it sounds, there’s truth behind those words. Make it a priority to sit down together for a meal and share your lives with each other, establishing traditions and making memories.
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