After breakfast, the most important meal of the day is dinner. As a family, different schedules can make breakfast chaotic with so many early morning routines and responsibilities. However, once the day is done and we all head back home and regardless of homework, work or fun, dinner brings us back together.
These eight areas will help reignite the thrill and joy of the family dinner:
Communication is a standard for any healthy relationship. The dinner table puts a family in a relaxed place where everyone feels free to express themselves, share stories from their day, laugh and enjoy each other’s company.
Sitting down to eat is a luxury. In our fast paced world we tend to always be on the go, always moving and always grabbing a quick meal to bite on. On those busy days when you’re unable to sneak in a quick treadmill workout, being able to sit down and unwind with family is just as helpful in transitioning from busy life to relaxation at home.
Going out to eat or giving your kids money adds up. Family dinners are a great way to save over time and eventually spend that money on a larger family activity. For every night where you think about ordering out, put some money aside in a jar. After a month or two, count how much you’ve saved and go on a fun family adventure instead.
Prevents Destructive Behaviors
Research suggests that family dinners help curb undesirable behavior in children. Children are impressionable and tend to mirror their environments. As a parent, discussing good work ethics, showcasing strong relationships and diffusing situations, empowers children in their everyday lives to make smart decisions.
Different generations learn different points from each other. Being able to sit down at the dinner table allows parents and adults to share new and old ideas. Kids are usually always aware of the latest trends and newest technology. When kids share their new discovers, parents can tie back to their own old discoveries when they were young.
The family dinner is more than just the eating. The experience starts from when food is being prepped up to when the last dish is being wiped clean. Whenever possible, make the whole dinner experience a family event. One person preps the salad, another sets the table, while someone else seasons the meat. This helps keep the entire meal off one parent and also teaches kid responsibility and the importance of every role big and small.
As parents, one of the most important things to pass down is your culture. From values, music, the meal on the table, language skills if you speak multiple languages or life views, all can be passed down every night at the dinner table. Kids may not pick up on everything, but they usually find a few that resonate with them. Your long term hope is that they’ll pass culture the same down to their children.
A healthy lifestyle starts at home and on the plate. It’s always seems to be difficult to get kids to eat what we feel is healthy for them. We may not be able to watch what our kids eat outside the home, but creating delicious home meals using those same dreaded ingredients, helps set the tone for healthier food choices for your children.
Once you realize the value family dinners can have on your family’s health, incorporating them as often as possible won’t be a second though. Communicate more, learn from each other and build a stronger, healthier bond at home.
Kevin Jones is a freelance writer, researcher and fitness instructor/consultant. He had helped hundreds of people find ways to become more fit and healthy through a balanced life focusing on an individualized approach to their nutrition and fitness. In addition, Kevin has written extensively in the fitness and health industries, including writing for companies such as ICON Fitness for NordicTrack. Connect with Kevin online; LinkedIn - Twitter