Family meals are important

Family meals help to create strong family bonds.

Is your family too busy with work or school to eat together? Is there not enough time to cook? Life can be busy. Family meals help to create strong family bonds. Families feel more connected to each other when they eat together. Michigan State University Extension advises to start family meals when your child is young and eat with your child. Does that mean that you can’t have dinner together because your children are older? Not at all. Family meals help children feel more secure in today’s world. Families who eat together also tend to eat healthier meals. Eating together can also save money.

  • Make mealtimes fun. Family meals filled with caring and laughter creates happy memories that last a lifetime.
  • Enjoy table talk. Share positive things that have happened during the day. No negative talk.
  • Listen to your children. Share stories about what is happening in your lives. Ask your child what is happening in their life.
  • Turn off the television and radio. Let the answering machine pick up the phone and turn all cell phones off during dinnertime.
  • Sit with your children. Sit together at a table where you can make eye contact with you child. Talk with each other.

Get your family to the table:

  • Keep it simple. Meals do not need to be fancy. Sandwiches, soups and salads make quick and easy meals. When you cook, make enough to have leftovers for the next day.
  • Start slowly. If your family is not used to eating together, start by planning one or two family meals in a week. Gradually increase until you have at least one family meal every day.
  • Ignore family protests. Ask everyone in your family to eat together. They will learn to enjoy family meals.
  • Ask everyone to help prepare the meal. Cooking will be quick and children like to eat what they helped to cook.
  • Start family meals when your children are young. It will become a habit for them. Family meals will make those later teenage years easy. Your teenager will be used to eating together and sharing his life stories.
  • Create special family meals. Make homemade pizza together. Serve breads, deli meats, cheese slices and raw vegetables on a platter for a “sandwich buffet”.

Your child will never outgrow his need for family meals. Take time to eat with your family. Make family meals a priority in your home, your family will remember these special mealtimes.

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