Families are busier today than ever before, whether both parents are working or a single parent family, not to mention afterschool sports and other activities, life is hectic. It seems there are just not enough hours in the day to get everything done. Corners are often cut and one of the things that suffer is mealtime. Eating is no longer the leisurelysit down event that it once was. Often times a family will go days or even weeks without sitting down and eating together. Some families schedules are so conflicting that they have done away with the family meal altogether. Even when families do manage to sit down and eat a meal together, there are often distractions such as the television, phones ringing or texting. It can be hard to connect and focus on one another.
Research has shown that families who share regular meals together report feeling closer and more connected. Children of families who have sit down meals together throughout the week get better grades in school and have fewer problems such as drug use and depression. It may be hard to believe that such a simple thing as just sitting down and eating dinner together a few times a week can have such an impact but it has been shown that it does.
If you are in the habit of eating on the run, or in front of the television you may want to consider a mealtime makeover. Sit down with your schedule and see if you can find an hour or two a couple times a week where everyone is home and can eat a meal together. It does not even have to be dinner, it can just as easily be breakfast or lunch. If your children are gone at sports or other activities every single night you might want to consider the fact that they are overscheduled. It may not seem like it, but simple, quality time with their parents is more important than participating in every extracurricular activity possible. Look in to the option of scaling down and slowing down.
Your first few family meals may feel awkward at first, even tense. This will pass as your family gets in the habit of doing it. If you can enlist your children in the meal preparations, so much the better. The kids may resist at first (and so might you) but keep at it. The benefits of this simple activity are proven. It doesn’t cost extra money or anything fancy. It doesn’t matter what the meal is, what matters is that your family is together in one place at one time.