It’s so difficult to sit down with your entire family and have a meal together these days. It isn’t only due to the long hours you work, it also has to do with the incredible amount of stress from homework and extracurricular activities your children have to face. Throw in the fact that many of us try to mix in some type of exercise daily even if it means just walking for 15 minutes and you can easily see how hard it is for the family to get in sync with one another. For many, families eating together is simply not the priority it once was in America.
In my household, weeknight family meals mainly consist of all family members getting a plate full of food and retreating by themselves to their favorite spots, whether in front of their desktop computer, the television, or their rooms. Believe me, I fought this one long and hard to no avail.
For the longest time I had held onto my old-school beliefs that a family must absolutely make time to eat together every night. This became unreasonable when my oldest daughter attended 2nd grade and was on a schedule at school where she would eat lunch at 10:40 A.M. She was literally having to wait almost 8 hours to eat her next full meal at 6:30 P.M. if she was lucky!
What are the Benefits of Sitting Down Together and Enjoying a Family Meal?
There are many benefits, according to scientific research. For one, a family eating together at least three times a week tends to have healthier eating habits on the whole than families who do not. Adults perform better at work and kids do better academically than family members who don’t eat together at least three times a week.
Furthermore, aside from the strong bonding that goes on within families who eat together, you will see less behavior problems from your kids and have a much better chance at raising emotionally healthy children.
Here’s how it worked out:
Now,when I walk through the doors at 5:45 P.M. every night I have already pre-planned our meals so we can try to eat together a few minutes after my husband walks through the door. Although we do our best, it’s not always possible to sit down and eat together for several reasons which include;
- the fact that my daughter eats 6 meals a day as she trains hard and is doing her best to get into excellent shape. Sometimes I can’t finish cooking and serving everyone a meal by 6 or even 7 P.M. and this puts a lot of strain on those of us who are in a healthy eating routine for our own reasons.
- my son eats lunch at 10:45 A.M. and although he sometimes waits for us to eat dinner, I simply can’t expect the miracle of having him go 8 hours without a meal. Also, if he snacks in between, he tends to overeat because he’s so hungry and this is self-defeating.
Alas, what works for one family doesn’t work for another. We have come to an agreement in our family and we have settled on trying our best to eat 3-4 meals together. Saturdays and Sundays are usually a given for us and that leaves the challenge of only having to sit down together one or two other days during the week. It’s doable for us!