We understand how difficult it can be to sit down for a meal together as a family, especially when your little ones are old enough to reject family meals and choose to spend time dining out with friends instead. However, cultivating a family culture of eating together is something that you should persevere with, for it has far-reaching benefits on family bonds. Here are five benefits that come with dining together as a family:
- Commitment. Even if it means pencilling in an appointment for dinner together, it shows that commitment has been made. It often requires family members to give up watching a television programme, or intentionally leaving the office at a certain time to make it home for dinner with the family. Whenever a family member does this, it shows that priorities can always be readjusted and instils in them and other family members the importance of family.
- Affection and appreciation. We sometimes take for granted the hours that go into preparing a family meal at home. Affection is shown by the ones who cook for the family, and as the family shares a meal together, a positive family atmosphere can be built by showing appreciation for the ones who prepared the meal. The rest of the family can still show affection and appreciation by participating in cleaning up after a meal as well.
- Positive communication and bonding. Central to the family dining table are conversations. Mealtimes offer a non-threatening space where parents and children can share about the ongoings of their daily life. It encourages children to be more open and honest with their parents, while parents can also use the time to share their life wisdom, anecdotes about their childhood and interesting pieces of news to develop camaraderie with their children.
- Culture. Cultivate an appreciation for different cultures right at the dinner table. Family mealtimes are a great way to introduce children to try new foods and new methods of cooking from cultures different from them. It is a time where parents can also instil moral values like racial harmony and respect for others by showing a positive attitude to food that are foreign to them.
- Life skills. It’s never too early to get children started on helping out at home. Bring children along to the grocery store and have them help to pick out fresh produce. In preparing a meal, younger children can learn to help set tables, and even help to clean up by carrying dishes back to the sink or dishwasher or wiping down the table. They can also help with safe tasks in the kitchen, like tossing salads or helping to prepare dessert. Older children can have more advanced tasks like prepping ingredients and even assist in cooking alongside parents.
Simple recipes that won’t take you hours to prepare
We love how fast and simple this is! Place everything into the pan and pop it into the oven, and you’ve settled everyone’s portions without having to wash too many dishes. Genius.
Pad Thai is one of the easiest meals to make, and can also be very nutritious. Find out how to make this simple dish by following the instructions in the video.
Save this yummy treat for weekend brunch! A twist on the traditional pancake recipe, we’re pretty sure the gula melaka drizzle will be a hit with the family.
This is an extension of an article found in Singapore’s Child magazine Issue 178, titled “Tucking in with Kin”, written by Raewyn Koh.
What are some ways you ensure your family sits down for meals together? Share them with other parents in the comments section below!