Make time to eat as a family
Family mealtime can improve your child’s life-
It can be difficult to get everyone around the table. But eating together has lots of benefits.
The power of sharing food and social time does not stop with infancy. If food represents love and comfort to an infant, then eating together as a family continues that feeling of affection and safety as the family grows.
Family dinners provide lifelong social benefits, bonding and the table manners you want your children to have when they are with others. When a family sits down to dinner together it's saying, "This family is so important that it's worth making time for." Family meals belong to the whole family.
Benefits of Family Mealtime
- better eating
- better communication
- better vocabulary, give and take of conversation
- better manners and positive sibling pressure
- better sense of belonging, resulting in greater self-esteem
- better school performance possibly due to better order, predictability, problem-solving, and commitment
The predictability of mealtimes gives order to the chaos of a hectic day and, the warm reassurance of the family as you:
- Share the day together and hear individual accomplishments and plan family events.
- Start discussions with questions that require opinions and accept all answers. For example: ask "What do you think about…?" or "What if…..?"; name the dinosaurs; talk about current events.
- Celebrate special events together. Validate each family member from time to time on his/her own special recognition day with a distinctive hat, plate, menu.
- Incorporate religious rituals and family traditions into the mealtime using blessings, prayers, stories, memories, etc.
This family bonding time is like no other because, when television and other electronic devices are turned off and everyone is at the table, the family members must focus on each other.
In a very hectic world and in a very busy family, the one safe place to come together must be the dinner table. The ritual of family mealtime doesn't just happen. It takes practice and commitment; it may change as the family changes.
But recognize that most children can't sit still for a long mealtime. They should be excused to minimize frustration for all if you extend your discussions and time at the table.
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