With the busy lives we all lead nowadays we can often forget how important little acts such as family dinnertime can be for our mental health and wellbeing, as well as our children’s. Today we are sharing with you some tips to make family dinners more fun, enjoyable and stress-free.
Studies suggest that children who eat meals with their parents can score huge benefits:
- Kids overall consume more fruits and vegetables.
- Toddlers have better vocabularies.
- Girls are less likely to develop eating disorders.
Depending on your life schedule as well as your children’s daily activities, it might not be realistic to expect that you will be able to all have dinner together every single day of the week. So, don’t set yourself up for failure. Be realistic and make a vow to eat dinner together the days you know you can all commit to and make work.
There is not much bonding going on if you’re eating together but watching TV or on your phone. Engage in conversations together instead and remember that this is an important time to be ‘offline’ and focus on yourself and the people around you only.
There is no reason why the mum needs to prepare everything for dinner every night. Encourage your other half as well as your children to take part in the cooking process, the cleaning up, setting the table, everything – it’s all part of the bonding process! As your children get older they can start taking turns in cooking and preparing the food themselves. This will teach them independence and it also means the whole family gets to try new foods more often! Remember, it is never too early to teach your kids responsibilities.
Know Your Child’s Limits
You can expect a toddler to sit and behave for about 5 minutes. A 4 year old can typically stay put for 10-15 minutes, while a 6 year old may remain peacefully seated for 15-20 minutes. Dinnertime does not have to be a lengthy process if you have young children. It also really helps if your child is hungry at mealtime. Finally, remember that dinnertime is not just about eating. Meals provide a backbone for family life and are proven to be amongst the best bonding activities. How often do you have a real meal with your family?