Why is it so important to eat meals together?
I think we all know intrinsically that eating together is important, when a family dinner all goes to plan, it feels good, and you leave the table thinking we should do that more often. However, few people know that it is actually a lot more important for your child than you may think.
In fact, I believe it is the most important meeting you will have all day.
By connecting over a meal as a family, as little as 3 nights a week, evidence suggests you can positively impact your child's mental health, their social skills and even their academic results!
But the list doesn't stop there, studies have proven the following benefits for children*:
- Higher self-esteem
- Higher grades
- Higher vocabulary levels (above just reading)
- Higher levels of resilience
- Lower rates of substance abuse
- Lower rates of teen pregnancy
- Lower rates of depression
- Lower rates of obesity and eating disorders.
It's worth reading that list again, all this from engaging in sit down family dinners!
Research also shows that the key that opens this list of benefits isn't the food itself, so you don't need to be a "Masterchef" or have "Insta-worthy" food, the secret is in the connection that happens while conversing over a meal.
Unfortunately many of us (myself included) combine eating meals while watching television, or bring technology to the table, both of which do not support engaging conversation, in fact, they halt conversation and de-prioritise family mealtimes.
After recognising I wasn't enjoying my own family mealtimes and had created many habits that didn't support connecting over dinner, I decided I needed to make a change. With the help of child experts, I developed dinner conversation cards and games to help my family (and now yours) to have fun and engaging conversations over meals, so that my children could reap the rewards of doing so.
Danielle Barrett from Around The Table provides practical strategies and helpful resources for families to make the most of this precious and highly beneficial nightly routine.