Ask a Question
Notify Me On Question Update
Email this Question
How Can I Make Family Mealtime A Success?
Rate This FAQ
Only one in three families in the United States eats meals together regularly. Family mealtime provides many benefits. It is an ideal time to teach family values, strengthen family ties, encourage learning, strengthen youth and, of course, encourage good nutrition.
- Teaching values. Eating together is a natural time for children to be around and observe adults. Children learn values through many little interactions, not in one big dose. Values are taught by discussing daily events, decisions and the reasons why something was good or bad.
- Bonding families. Meal preparation, clean up and spending time together while eating are natural rather than "staged" times to talk together and strengthen family ties. Encouraging learning. Preschool children who eat with family have better vocabularies. Dinnertime chatting exposes them to a broader vocabulary, especially as they listen to conversation between adults.
- Strengthening teens. Researchers at Cincinnati Children's Hospital studied 527 adolescents and found that if mealtimes are shared with parents or grandparents regularly, they could account for 75 percent of the difference in youth being well adjusted or having problems with substance abuse, depression or other adjustment problems. That's probably not due to mealtimes alone, but is an outgrowth of families that eat together also being more likely to do some other positive things.
- Modeling good nutrition. Children eat better at a regular family mealtime than when they fix food or eat out on their own.
With all these benefits, it's worth getting the family together at mealtime. Make it a priority, but be flexible. This might include bringing prepared food home or giving children an early snack so they can wait for a later dinner when everyone is home. Make it a time for pleasant visiting with an emphasis on building relationships. Avoid making it a time to lecture or scold. Offer a variety of foods but don't force children to eat. Turn off the TV. Fast finishers can stay at the table to visit for a few minutes.
A six-year-old girl, when her parent told her of the plan to start sitting down to dinner together every evening, said excitedly, "We're going to be like a real family." So, families, "It's dinnertime!"
Submit Your Suggestion
Other Questions In This Topic
- Can family meetings help us become a stronger family?
- Do You Have Tips For Dealing With Road Rage?
- I have a 2 year old son who has a step grandfather. He has had the role of a grandfather to my son since the day he was born. Recently, my husband (and this is his stepfather his real father is deceased) and the step grandfather had a huge blow-up. We wanted to make up and talk immediately but we were shocked that he was "done with us".The step grandfather has decided to drop all of us including his beloved grandchild and missed the birth of his 2nd so called grandchild. The biological grandmother accepts his decision and has moved forward, but we are hurt most because our children have been abandoned by him.My question is, is it wrong to think that because he had a grandfather role and he assumed it that he should if at all try to resolve the issues with the stepson for the sake of the grandchildren? Is that too much to expect? How is he accountable? What are his responsibilities?
- How Can I Plan A Successful Vacation?
- Do You Have Tips On Getting A Good Night's Sleep?
- How can we help our teens drive safely?
- How to help youth develop talents
- Do you have tips for those in the sandwich generation?