Depending on how old you are, you may actually remember a time when eating breakfast and dinner at the family table was a non-negotiable. These days, however, busy schedules have led to eating alone while others still rush to appointments or kids’ activities. Is there a better way?
For one thing, by getting meals delivered Melbourne families have found an easy solution. Doing this reduces food prep time and allows for more quality family time. But does it really matter where each member of your family eats?
Mealtime Equals Quality Time
These days it has become acceptable for children to eat in the living room or their own bedrooms. Or, if parents are working, children may find themselves eating at the dinner table alone.
For many people this dynamic works but there are several ways that your children will benefit from sitting down to a meal with their parents. We take a look at a few of the more significant benefits.
1. Family Dinners Encourage Conversation
Dinner time is the perfect opportunity for all members of the family to sit down together and recollect the day that has passed. Children should be encouraged to talk about their day and highlight the high and low points.
Parents should do the same so that children learn that everyone, regardless of age, has good and bad days. Talking with and listening to each other also lets children know what’s happening in the family unit, creating a better sense of security.
2. Healthier Meals Prevent Weight Problems
Busy schedules often lead to ordering high-carb takeaways to avoid having to prepare and cook healthy meals. These types of food choices are not only unhealthy but can lead to weight gain in children.
Preparing or buying healthy meals teaches children to make healthier food choices. Children are also less likely to overeat if there’s portion control at the table.
3. Teaches Children Language Skills
When children sit at the dinner table with other family members, they have the opportunity to listen to other conversations. This encourages small children to learn new words and even read better because they’ll recognise words much easier.
Be sure to enforce a few language rules around the dinner table. These can include no swearing, teasing or negative talk, in order to maintain a welcoming environment.
4. Children Learn Manners at the Dinner Table
When children eat on their own in their rooms or on the couch, there isn’t much control over manners and habits. When everyone’s at the table, children can learn manners by watching what everyone else is doing. This is how they learn basic etiquette and table manners.
5. Gives Children a Break From Their Screens
Seeing a child eating their dinner on the couch with a device in hand is not that uncommon anymore. For many parents, there’s nothing wrong with this picture because it keeps the child quiet allowing the parent to focus on other concerns.
However, when children actually sit down at the dinner table, you’re encouraging them to take part in the real world. Putting their devices down is an excellent way to give their minds a break from the digital world. Their eyes will also appreciate time away from continuous artificial lighting.
6. Swap Out Dinner for Another Meal
In some cases, it might not always be possible to enjoy dinner together as a family. This often happens when one or both parents are working shifts.
When this happens, consider changing the meal of the day to breakfast. Children will see it’s important to still make time for family togetherness.
7. Children Learn to be Involved in Chores
One of the earliest chores your parents probably assigned to you was how to set the dinner table. Pass on this tradition and even include children in meal prep to teach them how to prepare simple foods such as salads.
Setting the table before dinner and clearing it afterwards is an excellent way to get children involved, teaching them that mealtimes and chores are everyone’s responsibility. If you’re ordering from the vegan meal delivery Melbourne residents are relying on for simplicity, be sure to involve the children in choosing the meals.
Older children can assist with putting leftover food into containers while smaller children can clear away serviettes and plastic utensils. If you have more than one child, draw up a roster for fairness.
8. Emphasises the Family Unit
Spending quality time with the whole family every day, or most days, will help children feel part of a specific family unit. Family-style eating is an excellent way to remind children that they belong somewhere and that there are people who care about their feelings and opinions.
Mealtimes don’t have to be another chore that everyone looks to avoid. Encouraging your family to eat together provides an opportunity to talk, listen and become aware of what’s happening in everyone’s lives and there are ways to make it easier on your busy schedules.
Family mealtime reminds everyone that they belong somewhere! Don’t skip it!