Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Family Dinner

I woke up today thinking about the Family Dinner!  Strange thing to think about a 5:50 AM, when Darling Daughter is curled up tight in her pink blankie beside me like a little roly poly (you should hear her say that word--so sweet!). 
Hubby and I have always made the family dinner important in our home.  My parents did before us, and his too.  Every day, we sit around our kitchen table, and we reconnect, like these people (minus the horse!):

Later British painting by Cotman
           image copyright 2003 www.clipart.com

Family Dinners are so important.  For one thing: I think my boys would only eat snacks if we didn't actually sit around the table and feed them fruits and vegetables and some sort of protein.  We probably have about 5 family dinners a week, which is a feat, because we're always running in opposite directions.  During the year our schedules go sort of like this: Rise and Shine, Kids to School, Pick Kids up from School or after-school, pick kids up from various after-school programs, run home, eat family dinner that Hubby has so lovingly slaved over, and then run off to our various corners of our house (or for the parents to our various exercise choices!).  This leaves one IMPORTANT time for reconnection: the Family Dinner.
What are the benefits of the family dinner?  I'll tell you:
  • Reconnect with your children: Show them you care.  Ask them about their day.  If you show them there is a special time for them to discuss any problems they are having.  You'll be surprised how they will just open up to you if you LISTEN.

  • Influence their Food Choices: Family Dinner is a time to have your kids TRY different foods.  It's a time to show them how eating healthy is an important part of their life.  This is important today, where so many kids are obese. 

  • Fruits and Veggies: Kids Who Eat Family Dinners aren't eating Junk (unless you're serving junk).  They're more likely to get their daily dose of fruits and veggies.

  • Builds Confidence in Kids: This can turn into greater success at school and in their various relationships throughout life.  The Family Dinner is a time to talk about everything, so kids often LEARN at the table. 

  • Pride and Family Connection: Kids who eat family dinners on a regular basis innately know their parents are proud of them.  We start off our family dinners asking everyone around the table this simple question: What was the best thing that happened to you today?  We follow it up by this:  What was the worst thing that happened to you today?  This allows your child to receive praise and to vent.  These are two things everyone needs!
Our world is so fast-paced.  Everyone is always moving in opposite directions, so to me the most important part of family dinner is RECONNECTION. 

We follow this simple rule for our family dinner: NO ELECTRONICS at the table.  This means no DS, no phone, no TV on, no music on.  Just food and us.  This way no one is distracted, and everyone can focus on eating and being together. 

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