Many of today’s parents reflect fondly on the regular family dinners they had as children, and they want to keep up the tradition with their own children. However, today’s hustle and bustle often makes it difficult for family members to spend time together.
If you’d like to bring family-style dinners back to your home, read on for tips that will help simplify the process.
The Benefits of Family Dinners
Family dinners are more than just a time to sit down and eat. In addition to being more involved at home, having dinner with your family is shown to lead to:
- Decreased risk of depression
- Higher self-esteem in children
- Improved healthy eating
- Better academic performance
- Decreased risk of substance abuse
- Decreased risk of teen pregnancy
Having dinner as a family is easier said than done for those with busy schedules, but there are a few things that families can do to make sitting down together a couple of times a week more feasible for everyone involved. \
Clearly schedule a time and date (or several dates) each week with your family so they know not to plan for other activities ahead of time.
Additionally, a family dinner does not have to be an ornate, complicated event. Keeping it simple is a great way to ensure that time is on your side. You might also save time with preparation in the following ways:
- Prep dinner a day early and heat it up a short time before your family is due at the table.
- Have other family members participate in dinner preparation with you.
- Cook something you’re already very familiar with so you can estimate how much time you’re going to need.
Having dinner as a family is more about interacting with each other than it is about the food you’re eating. To make the most out of this treasured time you’re spending together, try to enhance natural interaction.
- Reduce distractions by turning off TVs and radios. Prohibit the use of phones, handheld games, and tablets during dinner.
- Ask questions to encourage conversation.
- Try to give everyone a chance to talk about what’s on their mind.
- Keep it positive. Your family will not want to make time for more dinners together when the experience involves lectures or anger.
Even if you only have one night a week to dedicate to family togetherness during dinner, it’s a good habit to develop. Just one family dinner a week can often encourage your loved ones’ efforts to make time for more.