It’s common for parents to be too busy with works and to run some errands, but they have to remember that family is a priority. No matter how tight or how full your schedule is, you should make time to have dinner to eat with your kids. One thing that most therapists or counselor when parents ask how to make the kids spend time with them and how to understand them more is through family dinners. It will be tough if you haven’t practiced this from when they were little, but better late than never. To those new parents, it’s time to start to have family dinners every weekday or weekend rather than to have alone dinners.
It turns out that sitting down to have family dinner comes with a lot of perks for the kids and the family. It’s inevitable to be not busy with work and life, but dinners don’t always have to be fancy and expensive with three to four hours long of prepping and cooking. It could be in the simplest form of dish or if you are too tired to cook, then what are takeouts for? (Though it is highly not recommended, but who are we to say.) Family dinners are to sit down with the whole family at the dining table and just eat together. These are the benefits coming from having dinners together:
Family Dinner: Food for the body
We believe that by having a family dinner, kids will eat more fruits, veggies and healthy food because they will see the parents do it too. Since kids will follow their parents’ footsteps, then you as the parents have to be a good role model. And in the future, these kids who are used to have family dinners will easier to internalised their healthy eating habit, even when they live alone or with their own family later on. Teenagers who join in the family dinners will be less likely to be obese and living an unhealthy life. It isn’t just that the foods play the big role in keeping the kids’ bodies healthy, but it’s the parents who play the bigger role. At the dinner table, the parents will have to be less tense and less controlling. Manners are still manners. Respect is still respect. This is to encourage healthy eating and to make them want to stay at the table, not run away from it.
Family Dinner: Food for the soul
Family dinners are one of the reasons that could lessen the worry of the parents such as smoking, drugs, vandalism and gangsters. It’s not a guarantee that just by having a dinner it could solve every possible parents’ worries but it’s a start. Family dinners could put kids and even the parents into a positive thinking. It’s also could help in lessen the possibility for kids or teenagers to have depression or suicidal thoughts because dinners can be a part of intervention for the children. If they have dinners on a regular basis, the parents could identify the problems easier and before things got worse.
Family Dinner: Food for the family bond
If you are one to wish a family with a strong bond, then you can start from here. Vacations or gatherings are other ways to create a good bond with your family. But little things like having a dinner together every day are what matters to the kids the most. Most children’s wishes are to spend time with their parents even just a family dinner with takeout foods as their dinner is more than enough. Parents could ask how have their days been and they could share their experiences and what they did throughout the whole day. Or to make it more fun and adventurous, have a game such as which one would you rather or wish list. Dinners don’t always have to be all quiet and poised. It could be fun and full of belly laughter’s.
Family Dinner: Food for the brain
Although grades are not important, education is. Several of researchers have found that through family dinners or family mealtime have made toddlers, kids or young kids to learn new vocabularies faster. Kids adapt to new surroundings faster than adults do. While reading aloud is helpful to make the kids learn new words easily, try to incorporate and use new words while at the dining table. When they ask, you explain and they will try to adapt to the new words. Dinners might seem simple or high maintenance, but it’s not if you put your family first and you know the benefits of it.
If you think that sitting at the dining table too often could make the whole bonding time too boring, you could take it to another level. You could have dinner at the back porch or have a barbeque in your backyard. Or you could have a pizza night with the whole family in the family room. If your children want to hang out with their friends, suggest them to stay in and invite their friends over for some dinner (but try not to embarrass them, even though that’s our job as parents to do so). Don’t make dinner time a chore. Make it a fun time to bond and spend time together after a long day.