In today’s world, it’s not unusual for the after-school-after-work hours to be spent shipping kids to and from their hobbies, rushing home from work because you got held up in a meeting, and trying to help with homework assignments – inevitably left until the last minute.
But when was the last time you all sat down to eat an evening mean as a family?
When we were in the process of inventing Doddl cutlery sets and bringing them to life, we conducted a lot of research around eating habits and family meal times.
Commonly, children are fed earlier and often given different foods than their parents, so is the traditional ‘family dinner’ a thing of the past?
We hope not, and here’s a few reasons why…
Communication – Using the dining table as your court, meal times are the perfect time to share stories about how your day has been, discuss what happened at school or playgroup, and make plans as a family. In older children, it can also help to identify any changes in behaviour that may indicate an emotional issue such as bullying.
More variety – Children who observe their parents eating a wider variety of foods can be more willing to try more and be less fussy. It is a case of ‘monkey see, monkey do’, which works especially well when siblings are also eating the same foods.
Table manners – The time you can sit and demonstrate table etiquette to your child means that you can instill in them the social skills that will pay dividends when both eating in and out of the home.
Appreciation for food preparation – Not only does a home-cooked meal mean your children’s nutrition will benefit, but your bank balance will too. Getting children involved in the preparation of the meal means that they can gain an understanding as to the effort that goes into cooking meals, and sit down proudly together to tuck in. Our Doddl knife is the perfect thing for your kids to safely learn how to chop veggies!
General happiness levels – Research has shown that eating as a family has an overall impact on the general happiness of children, helping children to be more emotionally stable.
So if sitting down together for every meal seems an impossible task, try to introduce a few opportunities to share this time together – even if just on weekends. Grab the cutlery, teach the kids how to lay the table, and get stuck in!