by CMDS Nurse Alison Boeving and CMDS Counselor Rebecca Gieselmann
There is no arguing that today’s families live busier lives than ever before. Consequently, families are spending less and less time together. Studies show that nearly half of American adults report eating fewer meals together now than they did growing up. So, what’s all the fuss about?
Spending time together sharing a meal with your family provides several benefits and opportunities. Here are six.
1. Time spent together.
As families become busier and children get older, it becomes increasingly challenging to find the time to be together. Mealtime is a natural opportunity in which each family member can participate. This togetherness causes increased happiness for the entire family, which results in children being more likely to be emotionally strong and well adjusted with good manners and communication skills. Studies also show that eating together reduces stress, tension and strain.
2. Review the day.
Dinnertime is a great excuse to talk. Catch up on what happened at work or school. Rotate questions for everyone around the table, such as: What was the funniest thing that happened today? How were you kind to a friend? What was the best part of your day? How did you feel God’s presence today?
3. Screen break.
Intentionally unplug from your phones, computers and the TV. Make it a rule that nobody checks the constant alerts that ding during dinner. Savor the “old-fashioned” conversation.
4. Better Nutrition.
What a perfect opportunity to incorporate a nutrition discussion into the mealtime conversation! Studies show that kids who eat dinner with their family consume an increased amount of fruits, vegetables and vitamins and a decreased amount of fried food and soft drinks. These kids are less likely to be overweight because of healthier choices and portions. Furthermore, meals prepared at home have an average of 60% less calories than restaurant meals.
Studies show that families who eat together have students that make better grades and perform better on achievement tests. Additionally, young children who regularly share a family meal have been shown to have a significantly advanced vocabulary, even more so than children who are being read aloud to.
Beginning your meals with prayer and thanking the Lord for His provisions can help kids be grateful for all He has done for us. Mealtime can also be a time when you talk about people who are ill or struggling. Talking about others who are hurting and praying for them can teach kids to have empathy for other people.
Mealtime can be a sacred time for meaningful gathering. The table doesn’t need to be set with fine china and crystal glasses. The important thing is that your family pushes the “pause button on life” and gathers together to connect with one another.
It is an opportunity to build on your family’s relationship and give your kids a sense of security and belonging. What will you have for dinner tonight?
Christ Methodist Day School first opened its doors in 1958 to 75 kindergarten students. Since then, CMDS has stayed true to its Christian elementary school roots while continuing to thrive as one of the best private schools in Memphis. We encourage you to come see why we are the primary choice for so many Memphis families.