Here are a few reasons to make eating as a family a priority:
- Children learn valuable life skills – There is benefit in children learning how to prepare and cook food, as well as how to clean the table. This sounds crazy, but I have fond memories of washing and drying dishes after meals at my grandparents’ house. Maybe these are fond memories because we had a dishwasher at home.
- It’s a chance to reconnect socially – Eating together regularly gives families an opportunity to check in with each other, share their day and laugh together. As a basic, this is time to teach children how to carry conversations and how to ask and answer questions.
- Build and share family traditions – While this may be a small piece, it’s a chance to pass along blessings and prayers. In some families, this can be a time to share recipes.
- You can model healthy eating habits – Parents tend to provide children a wider range of foods when families sit and eat together. Modeling healthy eating habits is a nice, low key way to encourage them to eat.
- You can teach and practice manners – Table manners are a learned skill that’s best taught over time with lots of repetition. Try to make this fun with related storybooks and games.
- It’s related to better long term childhood outcomes – Children who regularly eat at least five meals a week with their families show higher academic scores, lower rates of later behavior problems and lower rates of obesity.
To learn more about these ideas and ways to avoid picky eating habits and mealtime battles join me for my workshop on Managing Mealtimes & Picky Eaters, September 5 from 7:00-9:00 p.m. For more information and to register, please visit http://www.eventbrite.com/org/283710166?s=1328924.