How often do you all sit down and eat as a family? Are family meal times important to you or does your household tend to grab and go?
I was reading that a recent study carried out by Harvard medical school has shown that mealtimes as a family not only equal happier children, but also a healthier nutritional intake for children.
The study shows that children who eat with their family on a regular basis not only consumed more fruit and vegetables, but also had a much lower intake of saturated fats than those who ate alone.
Studies have also shown that toddlers who eat with their family have improved language skills due to meal times being sociable and conversations flowing around the table.
Do you agree with this?
During my time as a Nanny, I found that most kids who sit down and eat with their family, have better table manners and are more easy going and much less fussy when it comes to food. (Which can’t be a bad thing!)
In my experience, Family meal times can also bring families much closer together. It gives you all an opportunity to sit together and connect and to enjoy one another!
In an ideal word, families would eat together every day of the week, but we are all too aware, that in this day an age, with the pressures of jobs, chores and other interruptions, eating together is not always possible.
MAKE IT HAPPEN!!
Even if it isn’t possible to eat as a family every day, ensure that whenever the opportunity arises, you grab it! For example. if you know that you are all home together on a Wednesday evening and Sunday lunchtime, then make these your regular family meal days come what may, no excuses!
Plan ahead. Let your kids and partner know what time dinner will be ready and stick to it! (drag that hubby away from his laptop and seat him at the table!)
Get the kids involved in helping with dinner. (They are much more likely to eat it!)
Have one night per week where the kids decide what’s for dinner and involve them with the prep, cooking and the setting of the table. Kids love to get stuck in and feel part of things.
Get the conversation flowing. Go around the table and ask each family member to share the best thing about their day.
My niece and her husband do this every single day and the kids love having the opportunity to take centre stage for 5 minutes and to have everyone’s attention focused on them. What kid doesn’t!
Eliminate all other interruptions, such as turning off the TV, cell phones, newspapers etc. Perhaps a 5 minute warning before serving dinner will help here.
Try not to use family meal times as an opportunity to berate any of the kids for things that they may have done during the day that you aren’t happy with, there is a time and a place for this and it certainly isn’t when you are all enjoying one another’s company!
Family meal times should be relaxed, happy and an opportunity to spend some quality time together.
What are your experiences of family mealtimes? Do you agree with the studies?
During the next few days I will be posting some simple and delicious family meals that the kids can get involved in cooking.