Maybe you don’t really understand why it’s important to eat together as a family. What’s the big deal anyway? Turns out – there’s quite a lot!
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You may feel that you’re too tired and too busy to bother cooking and it is just easier to go out. I get it!
When my children were young, it was relatively easy to have everyone sit down for dinner every day. They are small and need help eating – the most likely place to do that is around the dinner table.
Why don’t families eat together? Maybe it’s about extra time. When the kids got a bit older, and we started doing soccer and baseball, things got more complicated. Often I would find myself getting home from work, with just enough time to pack their supplies and head out to practice. Then we’d grab a quick bite at a fast food restaurant and be on our way.
As I look back at it, I can see that it was poor planning on my part. If I would have taken the time to prepare meals in advance we could have saved a ton of money and eaten a lot healthier. Hindsight is 20-20, right?
I’ve since learned that when you spend time with your family doing things that are nurturing, fun, and fulfilling it brings you all closer together as a family unit. Family dinner, around the table, is one of the ways to accomplish that bonding time.
Even couple with no children, or empty nesters, benefit from sitting around a table and conversing while they are eating. It’s the way things were done for hundreds of years.
If you haven’t been doing dinner together it’s time to start. There are many benefits of bringing families and couple together for a meal.
Benefits of Eating Together as a Family
Eating meals together as a family is very important to the well-being of the entire family. The whole family will be healthier, happier, and more bonded. Children will get better grades, and parents will feel closer to each other. The benefits of sharing regular meals together are so vast that it is hard to just list a few. Here are a few benefits of eating together as a family, they can be far-reaching:
The truth is eating together as a family on a regular basis is fun and something to look forward to. Most kids love to eat with their family when they’re young. Even teenagers like it if they’re used to it.
If your kids aren’t used to it they may not think it’s fun at first, but if you work to make it pleasurable they’ll love it and even want their friends to come. It is possible to make family meals fun.
Kids Get Better Grades
Some studies show that a child who eats dinner with their family at their family table each night is 40 percent more likely to get A’s and B’s than children who don’t.
This is a huge difference that should be noted. If you can help improve your child’s grades with this very simple act, why not?
Builds Good Communication Skills
It’s a proven fact that family dinner improves communication skills. Talking to, with and in front of your children is the best way to teach them good commutation skills. Kids learn by watching you and copying you.
If they never observe you talking to your spouse, the other kids, or anyone else how can they learn? How will they learn to take turns in a conversation?
When you cook at home the food is going to be a lot healthier. Restaurants, (even from scratch ones) and packaged foods usually put a lot of salt, fat, and sugar in everything. It’s the holy grail of cooking to get people to become addicted to the food so that they come back.
The only reason food tastes so rich and good when you go out is that fat, salt, and sugar combination and this is true even if you’re eating vegetables in most places.
Showing kids what constitutes a good diet is the best way to ensure their good health now and in the future. This will not only affect them now but will affect them in the future. Of course, you need to practice good nutrition and cook food that is healthy.
When you spend time together doing something that is fun and not just work, it brings you closer together. Preparing a meal together, and then consuming it, and even cleaning it up after is a very nurturing thing to do together. You can have good, healthy conversations during the process. Plus, it’s just relaxing to smell food cooking while talking and laughing. It truly brings families together.
Happier Family Life
When the family is bonded well, it truly can feel like you have a soft place to fall at home. But without that bonding, it’s hard to enjoy being home. If you have kids who never want to be home have you ever wondered why? It’s not that they’re normal teens, it’s that you’re not fun to be around. Try being more relaxed, and let things go a bit. Enjoy your time with your kids. They won’t be there long.
Bonds the Family Together – When families spend more time together naturally they become more bonded. More bonded families tend to stick together, and marriages last even longer. Of course, this also requires that everyone participate in the preparation and clean up of the meals so one person isn’t tasked with everything.
Children Perform Better in School
Having dinner at home more often is so important that studies show that children get better grades if they spend more time at home with their parents during meals. Part of is nutrition and part of it is that bonding we were talking about. Getting the nutrition you need to grow, think, sleep well, and move – is very important to getting good grades.
If you want to be closer to your spouse, then you have to spend time together other than during sleep. The act of preparing the family meal together can be good for your marriage communication, which is going to bring you closer together and help you form that united front you need for raising children into adulthood.
Kids who eat with their family more tend to have higher self-image and more confidence than kids who don’t. It might seem like being involved in activities would accomplish that, but the truth is most activities are very competitive which can be hard on the confidence.
Children who are close with their parents and siblings are less likely to suffer from major depression and even if they do, they’re less likely to have thoughts of suicide or act on the thoughts if they have them. Mostly because they feel important and loved.
There is also less chance that your children will do drugs. When children are connected to parents, siblings and parents know what their child is doing and looking like each day at dinnertime, they’re so much more likely to avoid using drugs and alcohol.
After school activities cost money beyond the cost of the activity. It’s gas, it’s fast food, it’s equipment and it all ads up. Since there is really very little pay off for being overscheduled it’s not a good use of your money.
If you really want to have a strong family bond, healthy and happy kids, consider cutting down on afterschool activities and spend more time together eating at home and having plenty of family time together.
Start slow, so that you don’t upset anyone but do start implementing at least one night a week then start adding new nights so that before you know it you’re spending more time together as a family doing something that is fun and stress-free. Not to mention good for you.