There’s more to family mealtimes than socialising with loved ones- experts have found tonnes of reasons how eating together regularly can be beneficial for children. Not only do kids that eat with their parents tend to be slimmer and make healthier food choices, but it’s even been shown to reduce teenage pregnancy and drug use later in life. This family bonding time is so important, and having the opportunity to sit down together each day helps to keep loved ones close and connected. Which can positively impact children’s lives in these surprising ways. Here’s how:
Create a Meal Plan
We’re all busy in the week, and when you get home from work the last thing you want to be doing is scrabbling round in the cupboards and wondering what to make. If you have a set meal plan, and buy groceries based on this you know exactly what you’re doing each day and it takes the hassle out of it. If you know you’re particularly busy one day during the week, you could plan a simple meal for this day or throw some ingredients in the slow cooker in the morning. Base your plan around healthy, easy to prepare family favourites that everyone loves. If you children see you filling up on salad and vegetables and enjoying wholesome ingredients it sets a good example and they will go on to mirror your behaviour.
Make The Dining Room Comfortable
Making the dining room a nice, comfortable environment to sit in will make family mealtimes more enjoyable. Go with a large table which offers plenty of space, concrete tables are very fashionable at the moment or you could go with solid wood. It’s best to spend a little extra here, you can always go with less expensive chairs and switch these up every few years. But a solid dining table will last forever if you take care of it well and is the main feature of your dining room. Go with some good overhead lighting, a table runner and some nice crockery to put on the top. Paint the room a light, neutral colour to make it feel bigger and brighter, and decorate with some accessories for a homely feel. If the space feels pleasant, you’re more inclined to use it.
Keep The Atmosphere Light
Family mealtimes are a chance to chat about your day and enjoy the time together. Make a rule that things like talks of punishments, arguments and negativity are avoided at the dinner table. These kinds of issues can be addressed separately. This means that dinners together are always fun and something to look forward to. That they don’t become like a family meeting or a place for children to be reprimanded about something they have done. Turn off the tv, and put some background music on low instead, make the focus on the company and the food.
Do you make an effort to eat together as a family? If you prepare children’s meals separately and eat at a different time to them, now might be a chance to try something new and eating together instead.