Once upon a time families always sat at the dinner table together to eat, everyone ate the same and that was that. In recent years with people leading busy lives, children being out at after school clubs and classes and the lure of digital devices being great traditional family mealtimes have become less common.
Eating together as a family does have its benefits though and as such many parents are trying to bring everyone back to the table once more.
Benefits of Family Mealtimes
Sitting together encourages family conversation. It is a perfect opportunity to chat, to talk about school or nursery, to see how everyone’s day has been and generally just touch base with each other.
Eating together promotes good table manners, especially as younger children are able to mirror or copy older children, and of course you.
All eating at the same time, encouraging everyone to eat the same meal promotes healthy eating, works to combat fussy eating and of course makes your life that much easier.
A family mealtime is a great way to encourage a routine. Regardless of what homework, play, classes and clubs everyone has going on knowing that at 5.30pm it is teatime regardless is a good way keep order and promote organisation in older children too.
Overall family mealtimes can be great fun, brilliant for making memories and should be enjoyed daily if possible.
Top Tips for a Successful Family Mealtime
Have everyone start at the same time and stay at the table until everyone is finished. This stops some children wanting to race off as soon as they’ve eaten, not taking advantage of the family together time.
Employ digital downtime. make it clear that from ten minutes before until a set time after there is no TV time, no mobile phones, no games and no distractions. It doesn’t matter if you are the first or last to finish your food, you still don’t get Angry Birds back until everyone has finished and the digital restriction is over.
Extend the family mealtime fun by enjoying a card game or board game after teatime is finished and the dishes are done.
Do you all sit at a table together? What top tips do you have for making the most out of family mealtimes?