Make Dinner Time Family Time
Nowadays, with so many parents sharing the workload with busy careers, it has become difficult to make dinner time family time. Parents often feel like they are pulled thin with school activities, sports, playdates, homework, housework, and busy careers. There just doesn’t seem like there are enough hours in the day. However, having dinner with your kids is imperative because dinners shared as a family create healthier kids.
Research Reveals That Family Dinners Help Kids Maintain Weight
In a recent study undertaken by researchers at the Family Resiliency Center for the Human and Community Development at the University of Illinois in Urbana, Illinois it was determined that children who shared at least three meals each week with their family were more likely to maintain a normal weight and develop healthy eating habits than those who did not. The study was extremely large and included data gathered from 180,000 children.
The Importance of Sharing Family Time Meals
Here are just a few reasons why dinner time as family time is important:
1. Bonding: Sitting at a table together is a great time to catch up on the events of the day and open real communication pathways. After the meal, you will all feel closer to each other and have a true feeling of contentment. In many cultures around the world, dinner time is a big event shared by everyone in the family in order to create close family bonds.
2. Stability: Children require a feeling of stability to truly flourish. Family dinners that are a routine event in the household foster a true sense of stability which helps kids flourish.
3. Sharing: During family time, you can all share the events of your day and anything that might be on your minds. It is a good time to calmly resolve conflicts or make future family plans.
4. Diet: Children who regularly eat family meals consume a more well-rounded diet than kids who eat alone. The child is usually more willing to eat a little bit of everything on his plate, especially at the encouragement of mom and dad.
5. Portion Control: When someone eats in front of the television they often absentmindedly overindulge in more food then they truly require. This can lead to weight issues. Eating together as a family makes everyone more conscious of what they are eating and usually leads to the consumption of smaller portions. Also, when the whole family is talking and engaging with each other the meal progresses much slower than a person eating alone. The extended time it takes to eat means that children usually feel full and more satisfied with smaller portions.
6. Education: Family meal time is a great opportunity to talk about a wide variety of topics with your kids such as world events, bits of trivia or even about their day. Maintaining a diverse dialogue throughout the meal helps educate your children.
7. Openness: Being available to your kids during dinner time is a great way to create an open relationship with your youngsters. Many children just don’t want to bother their parents with whatever is on their minds during the day but at meal time they feel free to sit and talk openly.
8. Vocabulary: It has been shown that toddlers who enjoy dinner time with their families have a well-rounded vocabulary. This is believed to occur because of the extensive conversation that takes place around the table.
9. Eating Disorders: Eating disorders are all too common nowadays in children. However, it is believed that family dinners help prevent eating disorders from developing, especially in pre-teen and teen girls.
10. Teaching Foods: Offering up different foods at supper times gives you a wonderful opportunity to let your children try new things and learn about the various food groups.
As a parent, it is imperative that you take time to enjoy family dinners at least three times a week with your children. As the years’ pass, you will look back on those family meals as golden moments where you all enjoyed and benefited from each others company.