Most of us live busy lives, whether it’s because we have demanding jobs, commutes, bundles of kid shuttling from school to practice to home again. It all adds up and leaves us sometimes breathless at the pace and the lack of real time we have, together, as a family.
I was reflecting on this topic the other day and went back through the Montessorium archive to give me some perspective about how we can slow down and appreciate the family life with our young children. Something simple that gets us all together and not speeding off to an “event” or scrambling to find a single thing that everyone can agree on to play or do.
And then I stumbled on this great piece by Jana Morgan Hermann and she reminded me that something that we’re already doing as a family can be that “event” that brings everyone together: dinner. Every night – almost without fail – my family prepares a meal and eats at the table together. Sometimes it’s early and sometimes entirely too late, but it gives us a chance to sit together, talk, argue, bicker, and laugh. It’s a regular presence in our lives where the days might otherwise seem chaotic.
The research about eating together as a family is clear: family meals are positively related to happier children and families, better academic performance, and closer familial relationships and understanding of family history. Eating together also decreases the likelihood of negative behaviors such as smoking, drinking, and drug use and a reduction in the likelihood of children struggling with depression.
For us, dinner time is just a time to be. Sometimes it’s hurried and stressful. Our dinner times aren’t perfect and at times, we find ourselves poking and prodding each other as much as laughing together. We have varied food preferences and needs and are continuously compromising so everyone enjoys the meal.
But we find solace in the fact that the dinner table is a single place where we can all be together. We can look one another in the eyes with no other distractions except truly hearing what happened in the others’ day, sharing joys and concerns that might not unearth themselves anywhere else.
What is your dinner time ritual? What fun or engaging things do you do at the dinner table to make each meal interesting? Our family has lately been really excited about eating healthy meals from delivery services like Blue Apron so we simplify the process of coming up with a menu/meal every night.
Tell us what you do to make dinner healthy for your family’s mind and body!
About the Author
Bill Anderson is a father of 4 who shares his experiences about parenting and life with Guidepost Parent.
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