Studies suggest that getting the whole family around the meal table results in children who eat healthier, are less likely to try drugs, drink or smoke, and are likely to get better grades than children who don’t eat regularly with the family. However, with work, school and extra-curricular activities – rounding up the troops may seem like a logistical nightmare. Try these tips to bring your family together:
- Be consistent. Choose a mealtime and put it on the calendar. This will remind family members not to schedule something else at the same time.
- Be creative and flexible about where you eat. Bring dinner and the whole family to the child’s soccer game or to the office if a parent has to work late.
- Choose another meal. Many of us remember dinner around the table growing up, but with today’s busy schedules, maybe it makes more sense to make breakfast the family meal or start a new tradition of eating a small evening snack together.
- Get everyone involved. No need for one person to do all the work – assign each person in the family a task to get them involved and make the process easier.
- Make mealtime pleasant and fun so family members don’t want to miss the meal.
- Take turns talking and listening.
- Eliminate distractions by turning off the television and checking the cell phones at the door.
- Suggest that each person takes a turn choosing a topic or start a conversation jar to make mealtime talk fun.
- Celebrate random things – first day of winter, your pet’s birthday, an ‘A’ on a test, the first flower to bloom in spring, etc.