1. Table Talk. Mealtime is not just about what is on your plate. This is a time when you can explore what your child has accomplished that day. Accomplishments don’t have to be big-kids love to hear praise from you for completing a homework assignment or participating in math class that day. I personally love the rose and thorn game. This is when you go around the table and everyone states what their most enjoyable part of their day was (their rose), and the hardest or most difficult part of their day (their thorn). This is a great opportunity to find out what is going on in your child’s life.
2. Unplugged meals. Mealtime should be a time where everyone puts away their cellphones and electronics. We are an electronic-obsessed society. Unplugged meals will allow you to pay attention to details, tell stories, and truly enjoy the company of one another. There is nothing better than laughing until your cheeks hurt with your loved ones over a bowl of pasta!
3. Healthier grub. When we eat together and not on the go, we tend to make healthier choices. Think about it-- when a meal is prepared for the entire family, it tends to be more well balanced versus a meal not together, which may consist of fast food or packaged and prepared dishes.
4. Be present. Family mealtime helps strengthen the bonds we have with one another. You would be surprised what you can learn about your family members in a 30 minute meal. There is also research that shows teens that ate with their family showed fewer signs of depression. Perhaps this is because this is the one time in the day there can be uninterrupted conversation and they feel more supported by their loved ones.
5. Teach manners. Preparing and eating meals together helps teach manners. Kids learn to say “please” and “thank you,” chew with their mouths closed, and assist with setting the table and cleaning up.
What is your favorite part about family mealtime?
Until next time,
Kim, Young-Seok, Lee, Min-Ji, Suh, Young-sung, & Kim, Dae-Hyun. (2013). Relationship between family meals and depressive symptoms in children. (2013). Korean journal of family medicine, 34(3): 206–212.Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3667228/