The Benefits of Family Mealtime
This week’s blog post was submitted by guest blogger, Juliana Meyner. We hope you enjoy her post and look forward to future posts from Juliana.
Eating together as a family has many benefits for us and for our children. It is a special time for nurturing relationship, to listen to each other, to learn and practice social skills and healthy habits. It does not really matter if you can’t have the family sit together at every meal. That is quite impossible nowadays with the demands of our busy life and schedules. Even having breakfast together once a week is a great way to spend quality time together, and to create memories.
According to The Power of Family Meals (www.powerof familymeals.com) a website dedicated to support family well being, sharing a meal at the table has many benefits for children of all ages. It says that “more than a decade of research by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University has found that the more often kids eat dinner with their families, the less like they are to smoke, drink or use drugs.” Other good reasons researchers found out that are worthy in trying to make eating together a family ritual:
- Children learn how to be healthy from their parents.
- Family mealtime helps to reduce stress and peer pressure.
- More family mealtime is linked to better grades, less behavioral problems and less obesity.
- Preparing and sharing a family meal helps to connect in a meaningful way. It is a great way to bond and to show that everyone is special.
- Children learn important social skills, table manners and to respect others as they practice saying “please” and “thank you”.
Here are some ideas from Welch to help you to make the most of your family mealtime:
- Pick any meal. Breakfast, lunch, dinner or even gathering to share a fun, healthy snack .
- Let everyone contribute with their ideas for the cooking. Why not having pancakes and bacon for dinner?
- Get everybody involved. Children can help wash veggies, tear lettuce, set the table. Older children can chop vegetables and help to make a salad.
- Unplug. Make a point to not be on electronics or pick up the cell phone. Your family is the most important at this time.
- Rituals are important for children too. Have a toast to celebrate the day, ask what was the highlight of the day, check in with your children.
- Take advantage of teachable moments at the table. Ask what children are learning at school.
- Make it colorful. Offer colorful fresh vegetables and fruits for dessert.
- Cook extra portions and freeze it for the days you come home late or take it to work for lunch.
Here is an easy and fast recipe from American Heart Association for you to try and enjoy.
Juliana is a Visitation Specialist with the Family Tree Relief Nursery.