There was a time when family meals were considered to be rituals. Today, due to lack of time, long working hours, scheduled extracurricular activities of children and increased options for dining out are rendering family meals a fast disappearing practice.
However, family meals are keys to a lot of social benefits. Below mentioned are 6 uses parents should remember and follow during family meals for the welfare of children:
6 benefits of family meals
- Build a sense of restraint in parents:
It is a good practice to switch off the television during family meals as it distracts children from their meals. Texting or using smartphones while eating worsens the situation. Avoiding this situation will help your child concentrate only on food and start a conversation with you about their day or friends. So, check your smartphone habits too while eating with family.
- Help monitor your child’s friend circle:
Family meals are the best way to connect with your child and ask them about their day-long activities and time spent with their friends. You need to monitor your children’s mood and behaviour to verify if they are under a bad influence.
- Develop your child’s personality:
By regularly speaking to your child you get insights about your child’s school’s and friends’ background, and before they even get involved in a bad influence, you stop or project them. This helps in better upbringing, understanding of cultural values and beliefs and better academic performance.
There are various ways by which children can be influenced. By talking to them, you can understand the kind of children in their friend circles and their approach towards life. If these approaches help your children, you should encourage them to have more of such friends. If they pose harm to children’s mental health, you should help your children realise the demerits of such company.
Family meals are linked with many positive outcomes which include better upbringing, increase in cultural values and beliefs, and better academic performance.
- Help teach table etiquettes:
During family meals, you can teach your children table and eating etiquettes. Along with this, you can also teach them several good habits such as the ability to communicate over food properly and being a patient listener during a conversation.
- Inculcate healthy dietary habits:
Instead of forcing children to eat food they hate, you should prepare their favourite meals on every alternate day and allow them to choose their food. Once they understand that they need to eat food other than what they like, they’ll eat on their own to show other family members that they can take decisions independently. This will make up for the needed nutrition they had been missing.
- Build your child’s self-esteem:
Family meals are the best opportunity to improve self-esteem. By listening to your child, you are respecting them, valuing them and making them feel that their opinions matter to you and are very important.
Children, who don’t get attention from family members, search for the same among friends. Your child needs security, as you need to make them feel that they can turn to you for anything at any time. Hence, family meals strengthen the bond children share with their families.