As we fall into the routine of school again, and summer comes to an end, we find that extracurricular obligations and activities make time a limited commodity. This is especially true if you are a single parent.
It becomes easy to go through a quick drive through for dinner and to just eat on the go. Unfortunately, dinner is the meal we relegate to omit because we are just too tired to cook. Thing is, family dinner is important to the dynamic of families.
The family dinner is much more than just sitting down and eating. It is a time for families, and often the only time they have to share with each other about the day. Being together is the point. Its about communicating and the teaching of good habits and manners. Its about having discussions and learning about what's going on in each other's lives.
There are some interesting facts surrounding family dinner time. For instance, teens that spend dinner time eating with their family are less likely to get involved with drugs, alcohol or other illicit activity. This is a point many parents will find interesting. Out of all of the things you do to try to keep your kids away from bad influences, the one thing that is the greatest influence is still the event that we skip routinely.
Why is dinner so important? For one thing, it is a time to share thoughts and feelings. All day, kids are influenced by teachers, friends and the outside world. At the dinner table, they get a chance to connect with their parents on tough issues like schoolwork, peer pressure, friendships and other things. They can each share and help one another with helpful suggestions. Parents can even talk about work or family finances over a meal.
With homeschooling families though, the family dinner is an added benefit because our days are busy and filled with teaching and learning together. Kids then can enjoy being part of the preparation of dinner and setting of the table. It is not just sitting down and eating; the whole process is edifying and essential. The family dinner is also a time many families pray together.
The main point is that conversation is taking place. The average parent talks to their child less than 40 minutes a week. It takes a second to say “Hi” when you come in at night, but that isn’t effective communication. When dinner is shared by the family, you spend at least 45 minutes to an hour talking about everything and anything that may be on your mind.
Young children learn how to communicate with their siblings and parents. They are the center of attention with questions about their day and it makes them feel happy. You know that kids always want to be in the limelight when they are a certain age and this helps them learn to share the spot with others.
For teenage girls, body image is everything. Learning to prepare and eat healthy meals with their families is a sign that eating right will keep their bodies in shape and not avoiding food. Teen girls are less likely to become the victim of an eating disorder but develop a healthy view of food and their bodies when they eat dinner with their families.
Even seemingly very simple, there are many benefits to just sitting down and eating dinner with the family. It is a time for meaningful thought and communication that leads to stronger self-images that resist the urge of drugs, alcohol and other destructive behaviors in your kids and teens.