Eating dinner as a family has many benefits worth considering. It helps you teach your kids good eating habits while promoting better communication. Moreover, it makes your kids feel safer, improving behaviors and increasing confidence levels. Studies have revealed that teenagers who had fewer mealtimes together with their families were more likely to engage in antisocial behavior and underperform academically. This reiterates the importance of creating regular family dinnertime. Thankfully, family dinners are still popular in many American homes, so if you’re wondering how to make yours more enjoyable? Here are some helpful tips.
Make Time for Regular Family Dinners
Indeed, it’s not unusual to have a busy schedule due to work and other activities. However, making time for your family dinners is important if you desire to make it part of your family routine. While it may seem daunting, it isn’t always the case. Fortunately, you can achieve this with the right steps. That said, begin by creating a specific time for your dinners every evening until it becomes the norm. Likewise, ensure that your kids’ schedules aren’t overloaded with late afternoon or evening activities, as that could cause them to miss family mealtimes. Admittedly, cooking every day may prove challenging during particularly stressful days. Fortunately, you can make it easier by prepping your meals and planning simpler dishes.
A 2018 research indicates that unhealthy eating behaviors are often associated with screentime during meals. Likewise, a 2019 study revealed that technology distracts many families during mealtimes. These studies indicate that using technology during dinnertime may be more harmful than beneficial. For starters, you miss out on catching up with your kids and partner on how their day went. Your kids may associate mealtimes with screen time, which may not be the best idea. Other studies show that using your electronic devices during meals can increase your risks of overeating and developing obesity. That said, avoiding technology use during dinner will prove helpful.
To get started, implement a dinner policy that prohibits the use of all electronic devices during mealtimes. As a tip, shut the TV and your phones to prevent the temptation to reach out for your phone as you eat. You can also create conversations to reduce boredom, so keep this in mind. Also, leveraging parental control apps to lock your kids’ devices during dinnertime can be beneficial, so keep this in mind.
Involve Your Family in the Process
Another way to make dinner time more enjoyable is to involve your family in the process. Encouraging your partner and kids to choose and prepare meals will increase their desire to eat. It’s a great way to get your kids to enjoy certain meals, especially if they are picky eaters. It’s also an excellent avenue to strengthen your family bonds and teach your kids planning, organization, cleanliness, and other valuable lessons and skills. You don’t have to stress yourself during the meal preparation, as you’d have more assistance. Therefore, you want to bring your family on board when cooking if you haven’t already.
You can make it more exciting by letting each family member choose your meal and desserts every evening. Instead of assigning tasks, write down each task on paper sheets and let each member pick one to determine their chores for the evening. As a tip, delegate age-appropriate tasks to prevent injuries or hazards. For more challenging or dangerous tasks, have an adult monitor the process.
Cook Special Meals Occasionally
Admittedly, your busy schedule may require you to cook simpler meals. However, you can create time for special meals once in a while. Not only do you increase your family members’ excitement, but your dinnertime becomes less boring. Fortunately, you can achieve this in many ways. You can choose a day or two weekly where you prepare these special dishes to increase your family’s anticipation. As a tip, make these days regular so that your family will know what to expect.
Also, creating themed dishes is a good way to make your dinnertime exciting. If possible, include dishes from various cultures for the best results. For instance, you can prepare Mexican meals on Tuesdays and the Mediterranean dishes the next Tuesday to promote variety. Likewise, special desserts like red velvet cookies can also add more excitement to the dinner table. However, it’s prudent to seek opinions from them before trying new dishes for the best results.