Homework is getting done, and dinner is being prepared. I sneak away to go over some emails for the blog only to be interrupted by Novena (our youngest) who wants me to sing and dance with her.
This is pretty much what every weekday looks like at our house during the school year. Summer is a whole different story where our schedule consists of camps or daily activities at home. We always seemed rushed to get from point A to point B and then before we know it, it’s bedtime, and as the kids fall asleep, I’m right behind them. So when do we get to talk and connect with one another? Where do the kids get to tell us about their day and what’s going on in their lives? Where are the memories created? Well, think of the one place we all get together to share a common goal- eating... The Dinner Table!
Think about it! We all have to eat, right? What better way to share your mealtime than spending it with the ones you love. Speaking from experience, the benefits of this one thing truly outweighs any cons you can think of. Although there are tons of reasons why eating as a family is best for our children, I’m listing the top 3 reasons that I have personally seen benefit our family. Hopefully, it will inspire you to eat meals with your loved ones as well.
If there is one thing I’ve learned from the children is that they need me. They want to be heard and share their life with me, and all that might change in a couple of years when they become teenagers. There will be a time when their friends’ opinions will mean more than mine, and that’s okay, it’s part of them growing up. By spending time as a family and sharing everything that happens in our worlds over dinner we get to build a bond that will hopefully be too strong to break. We create so many memories at our dinner table, some funny, some emotional and some we want to forget. It’s the one place where we all get together and feel free to discuss anything we want. Often our vacations are planned right there, our weekends, birthday parties’ and movies for Friday night. It’s where I can share my horrible or great day with everyone, and they can give me feedback on what I should or should not do. The kids feel like their opinion matters at our dinner table. They feel helpful and proud.
For those of you that have shy/quiet/timid children, eating as a family can help them break out of their shell. They are at their safest place when in their own home and with their family. Therefore our children tend to talk more, yell, act out, etc. when they are with us, right? I always hear how perfect Lorenzo is from his friends’ parents or his teachers, but when he comes home, the kid is totally crazy (in a good way). There have been multiple times where I’ve stopped a parent while they were telling me about Lorenzo and asked if we were talking about the same kid (don’t judge me).
Since they are free with us, eating together as a family and allowing them to discuss topics they are interested in will help improve their social and conversation skills which can be used later in the classroom and with their friends. Through the years, I have noticed that the more we eat at home as a family, the better the children’s eating habits get.
Healthy meals mean healthy kids... and what better way to get our children to eat healthier than showing them the way ourselves. Preparing family meals at home gives the children a chance to be involved in the cooking process and gives us parents the perfect setting to introduce new foods. We also get to control their portions and make sure that they are eating those greens. The bottom-line here is that by eating together as a family, you get to regulate their eating habits and ensure they stick to a well-balanced diet.
We have been practicing this ritual with the kids since Bella was roughly 5 or 6 years old. There are days (tons of them) where Bini cannot join us, and that’s okay, we’ve learned to fill each other in on the day’s topics after the kids' sleep. By filling your partner in, he/she can discuss the same issues when the kids the next morning. This way the kids feel as though all parties are involved even when they aren’t physically there.
I won’t lie to you and say making time to eat together as a family has always been the easiest or best route. There are plenty of days where we all want to be in our space or have a lot going on and would rather eat on the go while we finish homework/proposal/blog post etc. etc. I’m sure it’s just as crazy at your house. Each stage of our lives will bring different and new hurdles for our family dinners, but we get through them together regardless of the situation. That’s the bond I want to create with the children and with Bini- that throughout life, whatever happens, we will get through it as a family.
I hope this helps you or someone you know. As always, I’d love to hear from you, are you eating together as a family? If so, have you seen the benefits in your children’s behavior? Are you finding it challenging to plan out your dinners?
Until Next Week!