The Importance of Eating Meals as a Family
Just how important are family meals? According to some experts, they’re pretty darn important. Research shows that families who eat together experience more happiness overall - including teenagers.
Eating Together as a Family: Why it is Important
Turns out, time spent gathered around the table is about more than just great food. For children, eating meals as a family has a positive impact on social development, self-esteem, and even physical and mental health. So what makes these family mealtimes so important and how can we make the most of them?
1. Build Family Relationships and Connections
Especially if you have teenagers, you know that sometimes it can be like pulling teeth to get your children to talk about their lives. A study by Columbia University actually found that 71% of teenagers said the best part of their family meals was getting the chance to talk to and catch up with family members.
Eating meals together as a family is an opportunity to for the everyone to connect and build nurturing relationships, while also giving your children a chance to share their lives with you. The feelings of belonging, closeness, and security that accompany these shared bonding experiences will translate to higher self-esteem later in life.
2. Establish Positive Social Development and Communication
Conversations over family meals aren’t just beneficial for bringing the family closer together, they also allow children to get a chance to learn what it means to interact in group settings. As each family member shares, children learn communication skills like how to listen, wait your turn to speak, and respond appropriately. These skills are invaluable to the social development of your child and will make a huge difference for them in their adult lives.
3. Encourage Healthy Eating Habits
The benefits of enjoying meals as a family, of course, extend to your family’s physical wellness too. This is especially true for young children, who learn positive, healthy nutrition habits through preparing and serving meals with their family. They’re likely to carry these habits into their adult lives, long after they leave the home.
Eating regular, meals is also a great way to assure that children are getting the nutrition they need (i.e., not eating cereal and cookies three times a day). As your children develop and grow older, they’ll have these experiences and lessons to look back on and hopefully incorporate into their own families and routines as adults.
4. Families Who Eat Together are Happier
Most of the information on this topic shows strong indications that families who eat together are just happier overall - and so are their children. Research actually shows that kids who eat family meals on a regular basis are likely to be emotionally strong and have better mental health, being less likely to gravitate towards negative, unhealthy behaviors and patterns from a young age.
Whether you eat your family meal at home, or stop in and enjoy one with us - make sure you’re taking time to connect with the people that matter the most to you. If you don’t feel like cooking breakfast or lunch one weekend, remember you’re always welcome at our table.
Click here to check out our breakfast and lunch menu.