Remember those old television shows where Mom cooks a big dinner and the whole family sits down together to eat at the table?
Now let’s think about reality, where you have to balance busy schedules, practices, work, demanding homework assignments, extracurricular activities, and so much more. It’s hard to find a moment to breathe, let alone prepare a home-cooked meal and gather up your family around the dinner table. Plus, not all of us have the natural talent to cook a picture-perfect casserole, let alone more than one dish at a time. How are you supposed to remember the green beans when all your attention is on not burning the chicken, anyway?
But that doesn’t mean it isn’t well worth the effort. Here are seven reasons to fire up the stove, corral the kids in the dining room, and enjoy a meal around the family table:
- Help your child’s academic performance. If you child is having trouble in school, issues with homework, or any other type of struggle, a regularly scheduled meal together may be the perfect time for your child to share these grievances with you. It’s a chance to take a proactive role in your child’s education.
- Build healthy eating habits. Studies prove that when kids and adults eat in front of the television, either together or alone, they are more likely to overeat and feel dissatisfied after the meal. This behavior can lead to a lifetime of unhealthy eating choices.
- Improve your relationship with your child. Talking, sharing stories and jokes, and laughing together are all ingredients for a good relationship. Mealtime can be the best time to work on your relationship.
- Relieve some stress. Sitting down together at the table to share a meal gives parents and children a chance to unwind, connect with one another emotionally, vent about issues, and become more balanced in their daily lives. With today’s busy schedules, it may be the first chance of the day to sit and reflect.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Kids who eat family meals are more likely to enjoy eating vegetables. Plus, when you eat out at restaurants, portions can get way out of, well, proportion. By preparing the meal, you can ensure your child is eating the right food and the right amount.
- Save money. Americans spend thousands of dollars on their food budget. Families that eat out frequently spend much more than families who eat at home. With all the money you save, you may be able to take your family on a vacation where you can enjoy even more fun family time.
- Be a positive influence. Kids that partake in family dinners at least five times a week are less likely to smoke, drink, and use drugs than kids who don’t.
Even if you won’t be winning any awards for world’s greatest chef right away, you’re sure to improve the lives of your family by getting them to gather around the dinner table each night. And eventually, you’re sure to get the hang of taking the casserole out of the oven before it burns.
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