If your family is anything like mine, then it is constantly busy and on-the-go. With two full-time working parents, a 5-year-old, a 3-year-old and a third little one making an appearance in a few short weeks, quality time together is challenging. Between afterschool activities, homework (still nothing too extensive yet!), preparing lunches and getting everything ready to do it all again the next day, we are all pretty strapped for time. This is why it is so important to make time for that all-important family meal as often as possible. The time together becomes invaluable!
Funny enough, my kids (who still think Mom and Dad are fun to hang around with) already fight family meals! Because we occasionally allow them to eat a “fun” dinner in the family room to watch a movie or for the hubby and I to selfishly have 20 minutes of uninterupted talk time, they think that is how it should be all the time. But, we know as often as we can we need to sit around the table and enjoy the precious moments together as a family.
Here are some benefits of family mealtime:
- Communication – This is a time where the kids will be minimally distracted and willing to chat. Ask them about their school day; What did they eat for lunch? Who did they play with? What activities did they partake in? This may be the only time you can get a daily recap.
- Planning – Talk about some exciting things your kids would like to do and discuss what fun things everyone has coming up on the calendar, such as sporting events or birthday parties. Give them things to look forward to.
- Food bonding – If you have little ones, start a contest to see who can eat the most veggies on their plate. Talk about the importance of eating these healthy foods. This creates a little bit of fun, friendly competition within the family and promotes healthy eating. Win-win!
- Share responsibilities – This is a good time to encourage helping out around the house. If you incorporate chores into the kids routines, helping to set the table and clean up the dishes and kitchen are great ones to add to the list.
- Family values – Mealtime, whether it be breakfast or dinner, offers a unique opportunity to connect in a relaxed environment while emphasizing that family time is important and valued. The table becomes a routine place where kids can expect togetherness and fun.
What mealtime traditions does your household follow?