Here are some reasons why it is so beneficial to commit to sit down to family dinner:
- Everyone eats healthier meals.
- Kids are less likely to become overweight or obese.
- Kids more likely to stay away from cigarettes, alcohol and drugs.
- School grades will be better.
- You and your kids will talk more.
- You’ll be more likely to hear about a serious problem.
- Kids will feel like you’re proud of them.
- There will be less stress and tension at home.
Don’t let this mission of “Family Dinner” feel daunting! Even the simplest meals — like order-in pizza — qualify as family dinners. The goal is to get everyone to the dinner table and to spend quality time together – not to force Mom into June Cleaver or Carol Brady mode.
Here are tips on pulling it off:
- Set a goal. Sitting down together twice a week, perhaps? Build from there.
- Keep it simple. Family meals don’t have to be elaborate. Work salads and vegetables into meals. Focus on familiar favorites, like chili or spaghetti.
- Be prepared. Keep ingredients for healthful meals on hand, including plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Get the family involved. Let kids help prepare meals and set the table.
- Use the crock pot. Put everything together before leaving for work in the morning. You’ll come home to the delicious smell of a cooked meal.
- Pick up take-out, order pizza, or eat out. It still counts as quality time spent together.
- Make it enjoyable. Leave the serious discussions for another time. Family meals are for nourishment, comfort, and support.
- Set the mood. Play soothing music. Put flowers on the table. Light a candle. Create a relaxing environment.
- No TV or phones allowed! This is time for listening to each other, sharing the day’s stories and nurturing the family connection.
No matter how simple the meal, take the time to sit down and enjoy it with your family. Make mealtime a pleasant experience, not a time for discipline or arguing about problems at school or work.
“No one is asking for rocket science here only shared mac-and-cheese and a bunch of chairs pulled up around the table…..” says Miriam Weinstein, of the book, The Surprising Power of Family Meals.
Time spent breaking bread will help your children form positive attitudes about food and eating, and create fond family memories that will last a lifetime…..