The fast-paced nature of the modern family often makes it difficult to get everyone together in the house at the same time, let alone to get them all sitting round the table! With ball practice, music lessons, theater rehearsals, glee club and making time to see friends outside of school, children and teenagers really are busier than ever before. But they’re not the only ones with super busy lives. Adults now work longer hours, working outside of office hours, working from home or catching up with emails in the evening, and ferrying all the children to and from their after-school activities. All of this has led to a culture of separate meal times, with children and parents happy to grab a quick convenience meal and sit down in front of the TV. However, recent evidence has suggested that this could be damaging to family relationships and child development, and for this reason, we’re here to shout about the importance of and benefits that can be reaped by, enjoying more meals together as a family.
A time to connect – Family meals provide a time for communication, connecting and socializing within the family unit. It’s extremely important to socialize with children, particularly during their teenage years as this will likely determine how they interact and view conversations with adults in the future. These conversations also re-establish family bonds such as love and security and can help dissipate tensions between family members.
A testing ground for table manners – For parents who wish for their children to grow up to be polite, well-mannered, model citizens, family meals are a perfect time to teach children about how to eat, converse and interact in an appropriate way. It offers a safe space where they can get things wrong without embarrassment and can take these important soft skills with them when they start venturing out with friends and one day to work dinners and events.
Exploring the world – Food is a central element for all cultures around the world, which is why exploring cuisines from all corners of the globe is a great way to expand the family’s knowledge of different nations. Try dedicating at least one night a week to a new cuisine from an unknown country. With the extent of cookery tips found online, there has never been an easier time to learn how to make a tasty hot momo from the northern reaches of Nepal, or even a traditional Silpancho from the city of Cochabamba in Bolivia!
Teach them some survival skills – In the good old days, that is, before high-speed Internet and touch-screen smartphones, people would actually teach their children how to cook proper, home cooked meals. Nowadays, the reliance on store bought pre-made meals has broken this important generational passing down of wisdom, risking our children being completely unprepared when they need to impress a potential partner or survive in a world without convenience meals! By teaching children these vital skills, you will ensure they can make it on their own, and have some great fun in the process. Family mealtimes offer the perfect opportunity to get everyone involved and can allow children to practice their creative cooking skills in a safe and familiar environment.
Let’s bring back the good old fashioned, homemade family meals, take a break from our busy lives and indulge in a little bit of family time around the table!