Building Strong Families at Mealtime
By Kimberly Shannon, MA, MFT
With today’s busy lifestyles, whether you have kids playing sports, performing in theatre or active in 4H, or parents working late, traveling or attending PTA, it is difficult for many families to have a family dinner together. And yet, it is at mealtimes when so many healthy dynamics can occur.
Eating meals together, especially dinner, is an important way for family members to share the good cheap replica watches and bad of their day, eat healthier and more balanced meals, and help reduce the risk of destructive behaviors for the children (e.g. drugs and alcohol). Eating family meals can increase your child’s self esteem and further develop positive family relationships.
Family meals need to focus on relaxing and healthy dynamics in which everyone is equally involved in the conversation. It is important for each family member to feel comfortable and safe to engage in conversations at the dinner table. Having the television on, answering phones or using any electronic devices during mealtime will distract from the family bonding and convey that the family is not important, thus sabotaging healthy relationships. Equally important is to keep the atmosphere at mealtime pleasant by avoiding conversations about politics, money or joking/teasing a family member.
Family mealtimes are important because by eating with your children, they are more likely to eat a nutritional, and well balanced meal. Studies show that families who eat together are far less likely to have teenagers that abuse prescription drugs or illegal drugs, or alcohol. In addition, studies show that eating nutritionally balanced meals together as a family reduces the likelihood of adolescent eating disorders and teenage pregnancy.
Keep family meals light and fun by asking everyone to share a piece of their day, by talking about future family activities and/or vacations or to share memories about family time together. Encourage and support your child’s desire to help plan and even prepare the next meal. Make mealtime special by lighting candles, or having the kids help make a centerpiece or a vase with flowers from your backyard or garden. The learning and enjoyment that comes with cheap fake watches family mealtimes are invaluable.