Here are five reasons why making family mealtime a priority should be at the top of your list.
Creates connection-As kids get older they naturally pull away from their parents and families as they develop their own identities but this is the time when it’s crucial to create those opportunities to connect with them. Sharing daily events, both good and bad, helps them connect to siblings and parents and encourages them to share their own advice and experiences
Improves mental healthStudies have shown that sharing a family meal improves mental health. Mealtime gives an uninterrupted time for kids and parents to bond and interact face to face. A study by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University found that the more often a family eats together the less likely a child will smoke, drink or use drugs. Make sure when eating together you all disconnect from electronics. Turn off your phones and TVs and be present to get the full benefits of family mealtimes.
Healthier meals, better nutritionThe CASA study also found kids eat healthier when they are sitting down at the table. They tend to eat more fruits and vegetables and drink less soda. Getting kids involved in food preparation also teaches them how to cook which is a life skill they’ll need as well as gives you more time to connect.
Saves money and timeThe cost of a home cooked meal averages $4.31. Going out to a restaurant will cost significantly more time and money. The time it takes to drive to a restaurant, order and wait for your food and drive home will not only cost you more time but also about $20.37 more. There are clear cost and time advantages to eating at home around the dinner table. One way to get excited about changing your habits is to take the money you save eating at home instead of a restaurant and put it in a savings account that you’ll use for a family fun outing!
Teaches table mannersWe all want our children to be well behaved especially when they go to places other than our dinner table. Sitting down together gives you the opportunity to demonstrate good table manners while also teaching kids what good table manners are. No elbows on the table, use your napkin and say please and thank you. All things that children learn when we model the behavior and reinforce it at the table.