If your kids are still toddlers, you probably have the time to enjoy meals together as a family. Soon enough though, they’ll get involved in sports, art class, religious school, and the list goes on and on. The more kids you have involved in things, the harder it becomes to carve out a half hour for dinner when everyone can be included. It’s really hard sometimes, but you must make a family meal a priority.
Research has proven that kids who eat family meals do better in school and are less involved in dangerous behaviors. The time spent talking, debating, and even arguing over the dinner table, helps forge stronger relationships. When you show that you are interested in what your kids have to say, you will be amazed at the things they choose to share. Not only will you learn more about them, and them about you, but you get the chance to demonstrate that you value their opinions.
I pulled this off the Department of Health and Human Services Website:
*By eating with your children, it is more likely that meals will be healthier and more balanced.
*Compared to teens that have frequent family dinners, those who rarely have family dinners are three-and-a-half times more likely to have abused prescription drugs or an illegal drug other than marijuana.
*Girls who have five or more meals a week with their families are one-third less likely to develop unhealthy eating habits, which can range from skipping meals to full-fledged anorexia or abusing diet pills.
*Parental influence and involvement is an important tool in preventing substance abuse. Regularly sitting down for a meal with your children is one way to connect with them and be involved with what is happening in their lives.
What Should We Talk About?
*Ask everyone to share their favorite part or biggest challenge of the day.
Plan and then let the kids pick tasks for the next day's menu, preparation, and cleanup.
*Exchange memories about your favorite family pastimes.
*Discuss an activity the family can do together and then put it on the calendar.
*Talk with your children about a book they are reading or a movie they have seen. It might turn into a family book club or a regular movie and popcorn night!
*Ask the kids about their classes, homework, teachers, and upcoming assignments. Find out if they would like your help or want to brainstorm on an assignment.
The importance of regular family activities to share ideas and find out "what's happening" is a great way for a parent to be involved, discuss rules, monitor activities and friends, and be a good role model. The benefits of eating together will last long after your meal ends, especially if you make family mealtimes a regular activity. Take the family meal off the endangered species list and move it back to the VIP list!