Our day to day lives are busier than ever, which means eating at the dinner table with all of the family can seem like more of a hassle than a joy. Sometimes it’s difficult to get everyone together, at the same time, in the same place but eating together as a family has its benefits. Here are five reasons why you should be doing it on a regular basis.
Improves Learning in Children
The more time young children spend with adults, the quicker they develop. Talking around the dinner table will improve your child’s vocabulary and develop their social skills. There is much to be learned at a family meal, including dinner table etiquette like how to use cutlery and not to talk with a full mouth. Family dinners have also been proven to improve behaviour in teenage children (if you can persuade them to join in).
The dinner table is a great place to learn about each other. If you have older generations that can join in, all the better. It may be interesting for younger children to learn about family members that they don’t see often or family members that have passed away. It gives them an insight into who they are and where they’ve come from. It may also inspire your children to tell stories about themselves and you may be pleasantly surprised by what you hear.
An Excuse for a Party
There are often occasions throughout the year where it’s tradition to get the family together for a meal, like Christmas or Thanksgiving. If your family are used to sitting down to meals together, it’s an excuse to all out. Decorations, games, special treats and more. You may even want to invite extended family over to make the celebrations even bigger. The perfect way to do this is by hosting a super bowl party on a budget.
As a close family, you’ll probably know what every member of the family is good at. That doesn’t mean you spend enough time watching and encouraging. A family meal can be an opportunity to build each other up and share what you’re good at. Let Dad get the guitar out or let Grandma tell a bedtime story. Maybe one of your children enjoys singing or conquers everyone at board games. No-one has to be put on the spot and there shouldn’t be any pressure to join in, just let everyone know that the door is open.
We’re without our family through most of the day. Adults go to work and children go to school. It can be hard to identify when one member of the family is dealing with something difficult. Sitting around the dinner table gives you all a chance to connect, and even if someone with a problem isn’t opening up, you’re more likely to notice when something is wrong if you spend time together. For example, your child may be dealing with a bully and dinner could be the perfect opportunity for them to tell you.