Studies have shown the importance of family meal times. In our hectic society, it is unfortunately becoming a less frequent event. We would urge you to eat together as a family at least once a day. Make it a priority. You may need to be creative and flexible, but you can do it! Here are some tips to help make it a success.
1. Make it regular. This will create anticipation and expectation.
2. Have people over. This is a great way to get to know your children’s friends. It is also a good time for children to get to know your peers as well. Children need to see adults interact. Manners don’t happen by accident. Teach your children how to serve and think of others when you have guests at the dinner table.
3. No cell phones period! You don’t want to hear ringing, vibrating, or see texting at the table. Our society is increasingly addicted to these devices (and that includes you mom and dad!) As a result, our children are increasingly becoming poor communicators at a very basic level.
4. Don’t be a short order cook. Prepare one meal. Put it in front of your children and then talk about everything else but food. If they don’t eat much, it’s not a big deal. Don’t make meals a battle and they won’t be.
5. Team clean-up! Not only does it make it funner and faster, it gives additional time to connect as a family.
Don’t underestimate the importance of these times. It keeps open the doors of communication. It helps your children have a sense of family identity. It can strengthen them to resist the pressures that your children face daily. Make it a priority when your children are young and it will become part of the fabric of your family.