Family members were busy, but work stopped when it was time to eat. There was a lot of laughing and teasing and no one was in a hurry to get back to work.
Today, a lot of families don’t eat together because everyone is going in different directions. There are kids to drive to school, and you have to get to work on time. If you have infants or toddlers, you may need to take them to daycare.
A busy schedule makes family meals difficult but not impossible. Here are four good reasons to have family meal times:
You Set a Good Example
You want your kids to eat healthy and it is up to you to lead by example. You take small portions of healthy food, and limit your amount of junk food. Don’t make comments about your weight, or how many calories you’re eating. This can cause kids to have negative associations with food.
It Provides a Time to Catch Up
When everyone gathers around the dinner table, it is a good opportunity to talk and listen to your kids without having the distraction of TV, cellphones, or laptops. You can plan something fun to do as a family or where you’ll take your next vacation.
It Provides Stress Relief and Comfort
Having regular family meal times gives your kids something to look forward to. It’s a time to eat tasty food, and discuss any issues that they may be dealing with.
Listening to what your kids have to say helps build self-esteem. You are letting them know that what they are saying is important to you, and that you accept them unconditionally.
You Can Monitor Your Kid’s Eating Habits
It’s not as easy to monitor the eating habits of older kids, because they eat more at school or when they’re with their friends.
When you talk to them about making healthier food choices, emphasize short-term consequences such as athletic ability or physical appearance.
Start a tradition of family meal times, even if you can’t do it every day. It gives everyone something to look forward to, and you’ll have happier, healthier kids.