Eat Your Meals Together!

The family that eats their meals together stays together!  This is why it is so important to have a routine when it comes to mealtime. Studies show that kids who regularly eat at home with their families have a healthier diet, are less likely to be fat, are less likely to isolate or be depressed and get better marks in school. They are better socialized and simply feel more understood, loved and bonded with their parents. 

However these meals together are not just about eating. They are also about communication. Family meal time is a time to talk. It should be a round table that is a safe place for kids to express their opinions. 

If you eat your meals together you are also teaching your kid to be civilized and disciplined. You are teaching them how to have a dinner conversation.  You are also instilling in them the importance of maintaining a daily routine.  You are also teaching them responsibility if you help them set the table. 

Are you having trouble getting your kids into the idea of eating a meal with you?This can be a problem if they are used to eating in front of the television. Try posting a menu on a magnetic white board or writing it on a chalkboard. You can send your older kids an email. Kids love it when you create a sense of excitement about a meal. 

Some kids also love it if there is a little pomp and circumstance to the meal. You can have them make a simple centerpiece for the table or light some candles. You can also serve older children beverages in wine glasses to make them feel important. The more your child feels that you are taking him or her seriously the more devoted he or she will be to you in general.  Even the tiniest kid who is being served milk in a plastic wineglass will feel important. 

Yet another way to convince your kids to bond and communicate with you over dinner is to make certain nights into a ritual. For instance in my house we have a Spaghetti Saturday ('pusgetti' as my youngest son calls it.)  Kids like the idea of routine and consistency. You should avoid letting your kids eat by themselves or with the family in front of the television.  For one thing this does not promote conversations. For another it promotes this kind of mindless eating and snacking in front of the television. This is a habit that could extend into your child's adult years and cause psychological problems. 

The way to start conversations with your kids is to keep things as light and fun as possible. Don't' pressure them to answer questions that you ask as that is all they do all day in school – answer questions. Telling jokes is a good idea as it helps loosen up the atmosphere. Basically be as charming as you normally would be at any adult dinner party and you will get great results because your child will feel so loved and respected!