What are the reasons to eat together as a family? Family meals seem to be out of fashion these days, with the differing timetables that many family members have. But it's worth organising your schedule so that you can eat together as a family at least some of the time. Here are some of the reasons to eat together as a family …
1. Family Time
One of the best reasons to eat together as a family is that it allows you to have quality time together. When school, work and activities take up a lot of our time we may not see our family members much. Sitting down together to eat gives us a chance to relax and talk to each other.
How often do we really talk to our family, whether about trivial things or important matters? Meal times are a good opportunity to share news of what you've been up to and talk about things that concern you. Dinner on trays in front of the TV isn't that sociable, so save the TV until after you've all finished eating.
Most parents want their children to learn good manners, and sharing meals as a family is one way to do that. They learn how to behave politely, be on time, and that they should contribute towards the household chores. If they're allowed to eat away from the table with one eye on the TV, then they're not going to learn good table manners.
4. Better Food
You will eat better as a family if you all sit down at table together. Eating separately means that you're more likely to grab a snack; teens especially will probably opt for unhealthy food if they're given the chance! A family meal will be healthy; you can involve them in choosing the menu.
5. Relaxed Meals
Sharing meals as a family isn't just about sitting down at the same table and eating. It's also about ritual and relaxation. A family mealtime gives everyone the chance to sit down and relax after what may have been a long day; you can disconnect from the stresses of the day and unwind for the evening.
Eating together is very social, which is good for everyone. Sharing food has long been a way of cementing bonds within a community, and your family doesn't have to be any different. As your kids grow older and become more independent, sharing some family meals will give you all the chance to stay close to one another.
7. Less Work
Sitting down around the table as a family is far more relaxing than cooking different meals for everyone; if you make everyone what they want, you're making work for yourself. It also means that you won't be bumping into each other as you each try to cook your own food - this is particularly important if you only have a small kitchen! Nor will you find all the pans you want are dirty.
Sitting down to eat as a family is sometimes seen as an old-fashioned habit. But it's really worth following this habit on some days at least; not only will it teach your children how to behave, but it can also be quite enjoyable. Are you strict about family meal times, or do you think it doesn't fit into modern lifestyles?