Some of my best memories as a child are of sitting around the table together as a family, sharing meals and conversations, discussing plans and daily happenings. Indeed, some of the best memories I’ve created with my husband were made over a thoughtfully prepared meal. Once our son was 6 months old, he too joined us at the family table, providing us with the opportunity to make our own family memories together.
The power of sharing a meal together as a family cannot by underestimated.
Here are a 5 reasons why family meals really are that important.
1. Role Modelling
Family Meals provide the perfect opportunity to model healthy eating behaviours. Young children learn through imitating others, so by showing your children that you eat and enjoy a variety of foods – including fruits and vegetables – you are showing your children how to eat well.
The Family Meal is a daily opportunity to get together as a family and share; both a meal and a conversation. With family schedules becoming more hectic by the day, the family meal is a lovely way for the family to get together at the end of a long day and reconnect.
3. Improve Weight Control
Children who regularly eat family meals tend to eat better, eating more fruits and vegetables, than those children that ate fewer family meals. These children also tended to have fewer problems with weight control, with a reduced incidence of overweight and obesity into their adult years.
4. An Opportunity to Teach
Family mealtimes teach children about appropriate meal time behaviour. Sharing a meal together as a family provides an opportunity to teach children proper manners and meal time etiquette. Teaching these behaviours early sets the foundations for more pleasant meal times, making eating out easier and teaching children how to enjoy a meal together as a family.
5. The Power of Conversation
Family meals inevitably involve an element of conversation; a time when individual family members can share the happenings from their day. Even in young children, these mealtime conversations go a long way in helping develop early literacy skills.
Photo Credit: Beverly & Pack