Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Family Meal Time...A Thing Of the Past?

A month ago I asked my Facebook family a question.  Are family dinners together a priority for you?  I had a large response.  Actually, I was surprised at how many people valued it.  Many were discouraged that it doesn't happen as often as it should, but feel it's important, and several make it a priority regularly.  Here were some of the comments:

Ginny said, "It' very, very important.  It's how we stay connected to our children and how their day was."
Melissa said, "Every night unless there is something special going on.  No TV in the kitchen either.
Abby said, "I think eating together is SO important, especially for this generation because so many of us have this "GO GO GO" mentality.  We fill our lives with so many activities, work. play, and entertainment that we NEED to take the time to sit down and slow down TOGETHER, and the dinner table is a perfect place for that."

If eating dinner is something you value but don't do enough, here are some great reasons to make it a regular occasion. 

The average parent spends 38.5 minutes a week in meaningful conversation with their kids.
Family dinner is more important for child development than play or story time. (Harvard U)
Kids ages 11-18 have better grades when they have dinner as a family.
There is a lower risk of eating disorders, drug use and bad behavior in kids.


The Gallup people say that only 47% of families in the US and UK eat together 4-6 times a week.  Obviously, it's not a priority for everyone.  But what if you want it to be a priority?  Here are some steps you can take to make it easier.

1) Mark you calendar in ADVANCE with the dates for family dinner.
2) Try and make certain days the norm for dinner so there is a routine.  Routine makes it easier for everyone to plan on it and get there.
3) During sports season plan simple meals early if you have too, but do it together.  And honestly, if you are so involved in sports that you can NEVER make it work, it's time to reevaluate sports.
4) Plan out meals and shopping lists a week ahead.  ON the busy days, make it easy.  Pick up a roast chicken and put some potatoes in the oven.  What you eat isn't as important as eating together.
5)Don't give up.  Just keep on doing what you have to do to make it work and get a routine!

The statistics prove this is important enough to make it happen.  What are your tips for making family dinner happen?

1 comment:

thetoddlerwhisperer said...

we pretty much have dinner together as a family every night. it's a big deal for the kiddos when daddy gets home, and i try to time dinner to be ready within 10 minutes of him being home. it's fun to watch our little peoples personalities at dinner, so important. even when we do fast food (not often) we usually bring it home and eat together.