Family | Is your family mealtime routine affecting your child?

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Are those TV images of families sitting around a big table eating and laughing real? As family routines get more hectic, it is hard for families to instil any sort of routine let alone a picture perfect mealtime.

When was the last time your family all sat down and had a proper meal? Did someone have to race off to go somewhere? Was someone distracted by the phone? What was even discussed?

Despite the postcard perfect images of family mealtimes being beamed across our TV screens every day, the reality can be quite different. Hectic work, school and activity schedules tend to dictate mealtimes. At best, it is more functional than a social occasion.

However, more parents are finding that they have to make the effort. As well as being able to manage what their child is eating, research has also show that having dinner together as a family at least four times a week has positive effects on child development.

Mealtimes may be the only chance that you can actually really talk to your child. By implementing a no technology rule at the table, you can give your child the opportunity to really talk about the things happening in their lives.

To get started, express an interest in your child’s daily life. If that does not work, discuss current events or topics that may be of interest to them such as sport or technology.

There is undoubtedly a sense of togetherness and security at family mealtimes. This has a positive impact on their values, motivation, personal identity, and self-esteem.

Psychologists believe that children who eat dinner with their family are more likely to understand, acknowledge, and follow the boundaries and expectations set by their parents. To help your child’s development, it is best to ensure that the conversation remains positive and suitable to all members of the family.

To set a good example, it may be best to not drink alcohol at the table. Setting good habits is imperative to children of all ages.

As mentioned, a regular eating routine helps your child’s eating and nutritional benefits. You can be guaranteed that they are getting all the nutrients they require, while also ensuring that they are actually eating their meals. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.