Why are family meal times important?
Less than half of the families in the United States eat dinner together at the dinner table. Our society is so busy with “things we need to do” that we forget that we need to take the time to slow down and enjoy meal times with our family. Studies reveal that family meals are an important part of a child’s development, emotional health, and nutritional views.
Family meal times promote family communication. Along with this your child will learn how to effectively express their ideas. They will also learn to listen patiently while others speak. This leads to children being able to form and express their own opinions in a respectful manner. For these reasons it is important to turn off other distractions. Turn the television off so that it doesn’t distract your child and other family members. Focus on teaching manners, these manners will carry across to their interactions with other in all situations.
A very good way to start family meals is to have your child participate. Let them become involved in the planning of the meals. You can use this to encourage them to try new foods. They will be more excited to try different foods if they have a hand in preparing them. Children can also help with setting the tables and cleaning up.
Family meals are a time when you can show your family that you love and appreciate them. This will help boost your child’s self-esteem. Family meals create a sense of routine for children and give children an extra sense of security. It can be a safe haven time for not only your children, but your whole family as well.