When is the last time your family sat down to the table to share a meal? If you are like my family, we have gotten in the habit of eating in front of the television, which I said I was never going to do as a mother. This is not how I was raised. My mom did everything in her power to make sure that we had dinner as a family. I remember times when we packed up the entire meal and went to the field just so that we could eat with Dad. It was a very rare occasion in our household if we ate like my family has grown accustomed to on a regular basis.
Well, that is going to stop right now. Starting this week, I am going to reclaim the dining room table for what it was intended for and establish our Family Dinner Time. This means everyone at the table together, no distractions (cell phones, video machines, television, computers, etc.), enjoying a meal together.
Research is beginning to show that eating as a family 4-5 times a week has great benefits for children. Benefits can include improved communication skills, better manners, more nutritious meals, a broader pallet, higher academic performance, increased self-sufficiency, and more.
I know it is going to be challenge. I am lucky that my children are young enough that they are not involved in all of the extra-curricular activities that steal time away from the family like baseball, dance class, piano lessons, homework, and on and on. I hope if I start now and make this a “most of the time” experience that later on it will be routine and hopefully will not be as hard to initiate into our hectic lives. However, I know that challenges will arise and we will have to face them head on. There will be times when it will not be possible and that the family will not be able to eat together. However, it is my pledge to my children that if it is possible and if I can make it happen, I will. I also pledge to get my act together and plan out our menu so that we can be more conscientious of the nutrition that we are getting in our diet. This will be a priority for my family and for the well-being of my children, my husband, and for myself.
Here are a couple of resources that I am using to help establish our Family Dinner Time:
- The Family Table – Family meals strengthen and connect families. We are your source for resources and support to help you eat more meals with your family so the children in your life reap the benefits. The Family Table – make it a habit! *From http://familytableonline.org/home
- The Family Dinner Project – Most American families are starved for time to spend together, and dinner may be the only time of the day when we can reconnect, leaving behind our individual pursuits like playing video games, emailing and doing homework. Dinner is a time to relax, recharge, laugh, tell stories and catch up on the day’s ups and downs, while developing a sense of who we are as a family. *From http://thefamilydinnerproject.org/resources/faq/
Won’t you join me in this journey by establishing or maintaining your own Family Dinner Time?
Have a Great Week!