Some of the fondest memories I have as a child are when we would all get together in the evening and have dinner as a family.
We would eat a delicious home-cooked meal, share one story after another and simply enjoy each other’s company.
I remember our dinner time always buzzing with incessant chatter and laughter around the table. We occasionally had our serious discussions but, those were also welcomed as a change.
It was always a time for us to relax, be our true selves and bond as a family.
Nowadays, it’s not as easy to share mealtimes as a family like it once used to be. Our work pressure has increased, our routines are more hectic and even our children’s schedules are much more demanding than they have been in the past.
With all this commotion and noise around us, we may fail to realize the importance of eating together as a family.
Research confirms that sharing mealtimes with your loved ones is the only single activity that offers social, physical and intellectual benefits all at the same time and one that proves to be even more advantageous for young children.
Here are five benefits of incorporating family mealtimes in your household:
1. Better relationships
Scheduling even one meal a day will allow you to reconnect with your family and increase the bond that you share. It will help provide a time for everyone to strengthen their ties and build a better relationship with each other.
Studies show that members of a family that eat together feel a better sense of belonging which leads to a higher self-esteem in individuals.
Children who have regular meals with their family tend to have better relationships with their parents and siblings.
2. Learning opportunities for children
Parents can be role models for their children during mealtimes when children are more receptive to learning new skills and manners.
Children will learn to listen better, empathise more with one another and also improve their vocabulary from their parents and elder siblings.
They will also be able to learn good table manners and conversational etiquette from everyone around them.
3. Eating healthier
Families that eat together generally eat a variety of healthier foods and consume more nutritious meals including fruits, vegetables and less sugary items.
Sitting together at the table also encourages discussions about making better food choices that will help lower the likelihood of developing eating disorders.
4. Set priorities
Scheduling a family meal helps everyone at the table learn how to manage time and balance their routines more effectively.
When you have a set dinner time, you inculcate the importance of family and teach each other how to prioritize the more important aspects of our lives.
5. Less screen time
The best thing about sharing mealtimes is that we can just shut off our screens and give our valuable time to each other.
Eating together will give you an opportunity to disconnect from the rest of the world and focus on only your loved ones that are there with you.
That is just your own family’s time to laugh, build bonds and create memories without any external distractions.
What You Can Do Next
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About the Founder
Internationally Recognised Emotional Literacy & Mindfulness Expert Tenille Bentley is the founder of The Emotional Literacy and Mindfulness Academy and the author of the children’s emotional literacy books with Jazzy and Pinky and The Energy Ball. Giving children a wonderful introduction to understanding their emotions and what do with them.
Tenille has been featured on Channel 9 News and other major outlets. Her work has been recognised in the community by The Governor of Western Australia, The Prime Minister of Australia and Australian Financial Review.
As a child she experienced severe anxiety and emotional traumas as well as bullying which left her feeling isolated, and unable to understand why she was feeling the way she did. As an adult this impacted her ability to make healthy decisions because she didn’t have the tools to understand her emotions.
Which is why she is passionate about equipping parents with the tools to support their children to make better decisions in life and healthy ones to help support and create a balanced home life.