If you are looking for a way to feel more connected and spend more time with your family, set aside some quality time everyday to enjoy a meal together. Studies show that it is extremely beneficial for children and parents to eat together, and increases mental and physical health, and is linked to positive behavior.
Why Is Eating Together Important?
Researchers have found that eating together inspires healthier emotions and habits. Connect with your kids around the table by asking about their day and starting a conversation about healthy eating habits. This encourages engagement and builds strong conversation skills through natural socialization practice, and has been shown to increase a child’s vocabulary. Coming together for meals is especially helpful to children with attention deficits and learning disabilities, giving them a safe and comfortable environment to practice their social skills. Family meal time can also be a moment away from school/work stress, social media, and other distractions, so power off electronic devices, and use the time to disconnect.
As we all know, adolescence can be a challenging season of life to navigate, and it’s easy for children and teens to hold onto their everyday stresses. Having a specific time devoted to talking over the day gives children and young adults a platform to express themselves. According to a survey, American teens said they were most likely to talk with their parents during dinnertime, as opposed to any other time during the day. Family meal time gives parents and children of all ages the opportunity to have a few moments in the day to converse and have an open dialogue with each other. This alone has been linked to lower rates of depression and suicidal thoughts, as well as putting young adults at a lower risk of abusing alcohol and other harmful substances.
Getting Your Family To the Table
Life moves at a million miles an hour, and there just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day for everyone's responsibilities and commitments. However when you make eating dinner or breakfast as a family a routine, and the table a comfortable and welcoming place to gather, your entire family will make dining together a priority. An important aspect of family meal time is the atmosphere that you create within your dining space. When designing your dining area, you should have dining furniture that is warm and comfortable and bring in colors like browns and purples to invoke a calming, natural atmosphere. Fresh flowers and festive table mats are also great features to create a balanced space, perfect for energetic conversation. For more interior design inspiration, check out pinterest and instagram from companies like Arhaus who have detailed room designs on their pages. Family photos and decor pieces with affirmative mantras are also great to hang in your dining area help to set the intention for your family oriented and positive space.
Aside from creating a welcoming environment, as a parent, you’ll also want to be understanding and approachable when you engage in conversation with your children. If conversations continually become hostile or turn into lecture sessions, your children won’t feel comfortable to have an open dialogue. The conversation doesn’t have to be completely centered around the kids and their experiences. Use it as an opportunity to share the challenges that arose during your day as well. Being open, and sharing details and successes as they relate to adult life will enhance trust, and encourage children and young adults to share details of their own day. Dinner table conversation starters like these are also great talking points that can help you connect with your child and allow them to get to know their siblings and parents on a deeper level as well.
Guest article by Molly Kay
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