There is something that we all do, that’s eat. I’ve noticed as my large family of 9 has grown mealtimes have changed and sometimes not for the better. When it comes to our children and loved ones we can help things refocus by Making Family Meals Matter. Just taking a short time every day to sit down as a family can make all the difference not only in our lives but our kids.
More Than a Refuel: Making Family Meals Matter
We live in a fast-paced, consumer-driven age. Work seems to have become a priority, and family time can often feel that it has been pushed further down the list of priorities. Nowadays, emails, and other strands of communication such as social media, mean that we are contactable 24/7, and so there has never been such an important time to reclaim our leisure and reconnect with our loved ones face-to-face.
How can we spend more time together when you just don’t have time? It seems as if there aren’t enough hours in the day, and while time travel is still a no go, here are some top tips to help you reclaim your family time, and keep those stresses and blues away.
Whether you have children or not, meal times are an important way to reconnect. Did you know that in America, 42% of meals are eaten alone? That’s an awful lot of time to feel disconnected from each other, even though you may live in the same house. Globally the effect of solo meal times on children has been seen to increase truancy, and therefore no doubt delinquency.
In Europe, particularly the Mediterranean countries, meal times are an occasion, rather than a pit-stop refuel. Families get together daily: it’s an important time to evaluate the day and exchange stories. By having mealtimes together, you teach your children the value of making conversation without the distraction of devices (theirs and yours). You will find that spending time together in this relaxed environment increases the children’s vocabulary, and encourages listening skills.
Take your time
Americans spend on average one hour and 14 minutes a day eating; so with summer on our doorsteps, now is the time to embrace outdoor eating! Eating outdoors immediately changes the ambience of meal times; they are more relaxed, and people automatically unwind quicker in the great outdoors – meals become an occasion. Rather than travel to Italy to embrace the beneficial Mediterranean culture, Fontana Forni USA can deliver you the authentic Italian experience in the comfort of your own backyard with their outdoor ovens and grills. Your mealtimes will become events that you look forward to, and take pleasure partaking in.
Everyone can be involved
By having meals together, all the family can help to prepare the food; even toddlers can add their favorite pizza toppings. Studies show that mealtimes spent together increase the intake of fruit and vegetables while decreasing the consumption of sodas and fried foods. As well as learning about and tasting new foods, encouraging your children to help clear up after your al-fresco mealtime is another lifetime skill that they will develop and gain benefit from – helping their family is something that will become ingrained within them.
Mealtimes can become an event. By spending time with your loved ones, you can regain some balance and find that rather than seeking relaxation outside of the home, you can naturally relax over a meal. Take advantage of opportunities to be with your family by taking time out of your busy schedule.
You might just find making family meals matter more than you thought. You’ll find your meals are leisure fun, and not just a task that needs completing. What ways do you use to make family meals special?