Importance Of Family Mealtimes And How They Best Build Character In Your Kids
When was the last time you and your whole family sat down together around a dining table to eat?
One way of ensuring that there is a constant flow of communication between all members of the family is to eat meals together. Sadly, this very important family activity is often neglected in today’s day and age.
We can’t begin to explain the importance of family mealtime.
The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University reports that teens from families who almost never eat dinner together are more susceptible to use illegal drugs, smoke and drink.
Other studies cite healthier children, others report that children who share mealtime with the parents have fewer behavioural problems. In fact, a study conducted by the University of Michigan researchers showed that family mealtime is rated as more important in character-building than time spent studying or in church. Eating together brings back everyone to the true essence of what a family is: sharing, communicating, fun, and belonging—on a daily basis.
Make it a family tradition
While breakfast could be “rush hour” and lunch together could be impossible, dinner time is the best time for all family members to catch up on each other on a daily basis. If you’re not already regularly eating together start doing it once a week for a while and then every other day, and then every day. Be flexible – some days it may not be possible for everyone to be there.
Also, ensure that the TV is switched off. Eating and watching TV at the same time makes this whole family tradition redundant.
Dinner doesn’t have to be gourmet; it doesn’t have to be a special dish. Being a work-at-home dad, one of my greatest pleasures is to be able to occasionally cook for the whole family. I occasionally ruin a dish and I become the butt of jokes which makes everyone laugh while eating; and while I try so hard to feign offended or hurt, everyone teases me more.
Dinner-time should always be treated like a reunion, a respite from the outside world, a moment of strengthening relationships, and a pleasant experience that should always be cherished by our children long after they have a family and kids of their own. This also follows that there should be strictly no sermons, scolding or fighting.