Modern families have become very stretched for time. With longer hours at work, more household chores and plenty of homework for the children, the age old tradition of eating meals together at a dinner table is slowly disappearing, replaced by breakfast bars and TV dinners. But why is eating together so important?
Family dinners can help to improve communication, strengthen bonds and provide some important stability to your home life.
The simple act of all gathering around a table together will enable you to discuss problems, share stories, celebrate achievements and set goals – without the distraction of mobile phones, gaming consoles or TV’s.
Statistics have shown that eating together as a family can have a significant impact on the development of young children. Children who eat regular meals with their families are shown to be less likely to suffer from obesity due to a regular pattern of meals and a parental grip on portions. They are also 35% less likely to suffer from eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia, and have a smaller chance of becoming drug dependent or depressed. Further to this, children that eat meals together with their family are said to fare better at school and have greater self-esteem.
How often should we eat together?
In a perfect world, it would be great if families could eat meals together every night of the week but often other commitments like work, hobbies and homework can get in the way. As a rule of thumb, you should know that eating together at least 3 times a week can have a significant effect on the development of your children’s social skills and mental well-being. If you are struggling to find the time to prepare so much food, you could try preparing leftovers from other meals which might otherwise be wasted.