When you think of happy families sitting around the table eating dinner do you conjure up thoughts of “Leave it to Beaver” or some other old sitcom? The mother walking around in her apron, high heels and pearls with a perfectly set table, perfect dinner and perfect family all sitting at the table. Well, let’s get real please. I know that’s sure not me.
I’m usually doing good to get all four of my boys and my husband to the table in the evening. Not that they don’t want to eat, just our busy schedules can get in the way. However, we do try to make it a priority to eat dinner together as a family as many nights during the week as possible. Some nights are harder than others. Some nights we’re not all at home. Still, we make it a priority as much as we can.
It really is amazing what a difference a positive mealtime can make in children and families. Studies show that children who dine with the family:
- Eat more fruits and vegetables
- Are happier
- Are better adjusted
- Are more socially adept
- Get better grades
- Are less likely to smoke, abuse drugs or alcohol
- Are less likely to suffer from eating disorders, obesity or depression
Kids of all ages benefit from family mealtime together. Teens and tweens need the family table time. They need the positive atmosphere and conversation that should take place at the table. They need to be reminded that they are valued and loved. Our two youngest children were adopted from the Texas foster care system and its amazing how much healing can be done around the kitchen table eating a meal together and bonding. Families who eat together share values together.
Need some conversation starters for dinnertime? Here are a few fun ones:
- If you couldn’t watch TV or go online for a month, how would you spend that time?
- If you could have any superpower, which would you choose? (This one is a regular topic at our table.)
- How can you tell someone you love them without using words?
- If you could be a famous person for a week, who would you be and why?
- If you could trade places with your parents for a day, how would you do things differently?
Does your family have any favorite topics or dinner time games they like to play? We’d love to hear about them.