In this tech-ridden, fast pace society, sitting down to eat a meal as a family isn’t as common as it used to be. With busy schedules, smart phones, tablets, extracurricular activities, etc. finding time to come together at the end of a long day may be difficult, however the benefits are well worth it. The following are some of the things you stand to gain by eat dinner (and other meals), as a family:
- Provides an opportunity to bond & stay connected: One of the richest language parents can give their children is table conversation. Family dinner is a chance to sit and talk about a topic, the day, and some other issues affecting the family.
- Inspires Home-cooked meals: Foods prepared at home are more likely to be more healthy and nutritious. This is because they most likely contain more dairy products, calcium, fiber, vegetables, fruits, folate, and vitamins A and C. Meals prepared at home are in most cases not highly salted or fried. Also, the consumption of sweetened beverage and soda is normally low at the dinner table.
- It is economical: Research has proven that you spend two to four times more when you eat out of your home. Currently, the restaurant industry takes more than 46% of the total food dollar. Families eat outside week-in-week-out because of several activities, commitments, and scheduling.
- Teaches children to be self-sufficient: Children now miss out on how to plan and prepare meals. Being self-sufficient requires one to be able to do basic baking, cooking, and food preparation. Family dinner involves the family in food preparation, grocery shopping, and menu planning. Working as a team will make everyone responsible for the meal and also put the meal on the table faster.
- Helps to relieve stress: Take it or you leave it, family dinner can be the stress reliever of that demanding job. Brigham Young University researchers conducted a study on IBM workers in 2008 and found out that working mothers are able to reduce the strain and tension from their work by sitting down to a family meal.
The right time to bring the family back to the dinner table is now because this is where everyone experiences a sense of identity. It establishes family traditions, can help ease day-to-day conflicts, and also establish lifetime memories. So, ring the dinner bell and invite your family to the table. A family dinner is more than just a feeding station. The food will bring the family members to the table while the stories and conversation will keep them there. That one hour will create comfort, meaningful conversations, play, and fun.