There was a time when it was the norm for families to end the day by sharing a meal together. For some families, this tradition lives on. But for others, it’s becoming more and more difficult to have a family meal together because of hectic schedules. It can be the highlight of the day when you are able to accomplish this feat!
Keeping mealtimes enjoyable is an important part of making the most of this time together as a family. Here are some helpful ideas:
· You may need to schedule family meals. Check your family’s calendar and choose a day and time when everyone can be there.
· Make a list before going food shopping of the items that you need for the family meal, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products and protein for a well-balanced meal that your family needs to grow and stay healthy.
· Involve all the family members in the meal preparations. Even your three-year-old can become involved! Assign your littler ones simple tasks such as putting plates on the table, pouring the drinks, and clearing off the table after dinner. If you have older kids, they may be able to pitch in even more, such as getting ingredients, washing produce, and mixing and stirring the food.
· Be a role model for your family. Be upbeat and pleasant as you prepare the meal. If your children see you being pleasant it can rub off on them and put everyone in a good mood!
· Set a good example by saying “please” and thanking them for their help.
· Make it enjoyable. Leave serious discussions for another time.
· Family meals are for listening to each other, sharing the day’s stories, comfort, and support. This becomes even more important as kids get older.
Here’s another tip — no TV, no computers, and no cell phones at the table! This is time to reconnect with the family. Do family meals matter to you? Tell us what you think.