As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I ‘ve been working with Momversation and Ragú® Sauce on an initiative to start a dialogue amongst us mothers about issues surrounding mealtime. So far, the Mom’s the Word on Dinnertime video series has included conversations about Funny Mealtime Moments, What to Do with Picky Eaters, Meal Inspiration Ideas, Table manners and more. The topic that’s closest to my heart though, is the importance of family sitting down to dinner together as often as possible. I truly believe that the dinner table is the conduit of familial communication, so in our home we eat dinner together every night possible. Here’s why:
My Top 5 Reasons Family Dinnertime is Important
- Enforces Good Eating Habits. When we take the time to sit down as a family, it’s much easier to monitor what our kids are eating (Are they actually eating those vegetables or just hiding them?) and how they’re eating it (Are they shoving the food down in a hurry, or chewing bites relatively carefully?) Encouraging our kids to eat well now, paves the way to their dietary future.
- Teaches Table Manners. It’s not news that kids learn more from practice than they do from being preached to, right? Well, the meal table is like a rehearsal lab for etiquette. Whether it’s how to set a table, the best way to ask for something, what constitutes inappropriate conversation (in our house, that means no “potty talk”), or how to excuse yourself–dinnertime lays the foundation for how kids will behave when they’re invited to friends’ homes now, or on dates in the future!
- Makes Time for Daily Check-in. It’s really easy to go a whole day without asking our children how their day’s going, what they learned that day in school, who they played with on the playground, or how they’re feeling in general–we’re all just so busy! Sitting down at a table together, creates a time on the schedule to do just that. The more checked-in we are with our kids, the more valued they feel.
- Sets the scene for “real” conversations. Making the dinner table a daily, techie gadget-free zone (no texting allowed!) also creates a consistent space where families know that they’ll have each others’ captive attention. This provides the opportunity to have conversations ranging from important (recent conversations at our table included bullying and puberty), to less serious topics (we like to talk music with our kids–most recently we discussed great, cover songs).
- Makes Family a Priority. Spending time with each other while enjoying great food (btw, great food doesn’t have to mean complex meals that require loads of prep-time–healthy, take-out works, too!) is the heart of the family body. Even if you can only swing it a few days a week, making family time a priority sets positive patterns for generations to come!
Do you sit down with your family at mealtime? If so, why? Join the mealtime conversation on the Ragú® Sauce Facebook page!