Eating meals together as a family is a cherished tradition of many households. Not only does it provide an opportunity for loved ones to come together and share in the joy of a meal, but it also offers a host of benefits for children.
Parents know that the hustle and bustle of everyday life can make it difficult to gather the family around the dinner table. You may find yourself struggling to get your children to sit still, pay attention to their meal, and engage in meaningful conversation. But we know the effort is well worth it.
Research has shown that families who regularly eat meals together experience a host of benefits, including increased academic performance, improved social skills, and stronger family bonds.
So we’ve compiled some tips to make the experience more enjoyable for everyone. Let’s gather around the table, savour the delicious food, and cherish the time spent together.
1. Make meal preparation interactive!
When you involve children in meal preparation, it gets them excited about eating together too. Let them help with tasks like setting the table, washing vegetables, or making their own healthy pizzas.
2. Create a fun and enjoyable atmosphere
Playing soft background music and letting them choose what to listen to, lighting candles, or decorating the table with some DIY decorations made by them can make the experience more enjoyable for kids.
3. Keep conversation light
Avoid discussing sensitive or heavy topics at the dinner table. Encourage children to recount the best part of their day, something that made them happy, or something they learned.
4. Avoid distractions
Turn off the TV and put away phones to make sure everyone is focused on the meal and each other. It’s so much easier when Paw Patrol isn’t playing over your shoulder.
5. Give dinner a fun theme!
Use fun placemats, colourful plates, or create a theme night like "Taco Tuesday" or "Pizza Night" that the kids can look forward to.
6. Encourage independence
Teach children how to serve themselves and pour their own drinks. This will help them feel more in control and confident at the table. Add some fun with utensils like metal straws to drink from and funky-shaped jugs or crockery.
We hope these tips help you to make mealtime an enjoyable experience for your children - or any children of guests you host. Not only will they be more likely to sit still and eat their meals, but they’ll also be improving their social skills and bonding with family. Win-win!