The 5 Big Benefits of Family Mealtime
Dining together as a family isn't always easy in today's society. You have to rush to work in the morning; the family is rarely together for lunch time; between phone calls, video games, must-see television shows, and homework, it would take a miracle to get everyone to sit at the table at the same time for family mealtime. However, eating at least one meal together as a family each day has significant benefits for each member of your family - and once you get into the habit, it may not be as hard to do as you thought.
Boost Little Ones' Vocabulary
Ideally, we would love to read a story or two to our tots every day. But in reality, there just isn't always time for that. Family mealtime provides a superior environment for boosting children's vocabulary in a normal, day-to-day context. It can also help even your smallest family members with things like recognizing facial expressions and differentiating voice tones.
Get the Kids Away from the Screen
Watching TV, playing games, or fiddling with devices is an absolute no-no at family mealtime. This is one hour during the day that can get your kids' minds away from the screen, and encourage them to interact with the real world around them. It can also give your pre-teens an opportunity to learn some of your wisdom regarding school, relationships, and growing up in general.
Reduce the Risk of Teen Depression
Teen depression is a very real possibility, and studies have shown that eating at least one meal together at least five days a week can substantially reduce this risk for teens in your family. Along with depression, family mealtime has been proven to reduce the risk of teen pregnancy, substance abuse, alcoholism, and suicide, and helps raise GPAs and self-esteem.
Prevent Obesity and Eating Disorders
The occurrence of obesity among children and adults is rising in our culture, and part of the problem is linked to eating meals around the television. Family mealtime - without the screen - gives you a great opportunity to teach your children about healthy eating habits, and can give them the tools to choose nutritious foods on their own when they get older. This can also help prevent common eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia, especially in teens.
Get the Whole Family Involved
Family mealtime doesn't just have to be about eating a meal. The entire family can take part in planning, shopping, and preparing for meals. Even the smallest children love being able to sprinkle cheese over a casserole or stir a soup as it cooks. Find age-appropriate tasks that each family member can do to make meal time a joint effort, including cleaning up afterward. Teens could even prepare one or two meals a week, while elementary-age children may be able to prepare a side dish or dessert from time to time.
Whether you dine together in the morning or prefer to spend family time over dinner, Kate's Kitchen is an excellent place to bring the family for a nutritious and delicious meal. Enjoy great food, fun, and conversation in the area's best homestyle restaurant, and reap the benefits of family meal time without having to clean up afterward!