Raise Your Mitt to Commit!
Join us and families around the country in celebrating National Family Meals Month—a nationwide event designed to challenge each of us to share one more meal at home per week with our families. Did you know that 46 percent of all eating occasions are consumed alone? We want to help you and your family plan, prepare, and share more time together at the table.
Why Family Meals Matter
- Regular family meals have positive effects on childhood development like cultivating closeness and security.
- Regular family meals teach young children communication and listening skills, as well as how to follow rules and understanding parental expectations.
- A 2014 study shows that children who grow up sharing family meals are more likely to exhibit prosocial behavior as adults, such as sharing, fairness, and respect.
- Regular family meals have been linked to healthier eating habits, higher grades, and less risky behavior.
- Regular family meals provide parents with glimpses into children’s lives via conversation that may not take place if it were not for table talk.
- When people eat most of their meals at home, they consume fewer carbohydrates, less sugar, and less fat than those who cook less or not at all.
‘Set the Table’ for Bonding
Ultimate family meals don’t just happen. It takes a little bit of effort on everyone’s part. Here are some tips to consider:
- Involve every family member at some point during the family meals journey, e.g., when you are meal planning and creating your grocery shopping list ask for input from family members.
- Kids love to help in the kitchen. Teach younger children how to set the table with this Meals Unplugged Basic Table Setting printout. Depending on the child’s age, you may want to keep your fine china put away.
- Table manners should never go out of style. This Top Table Manners for Kids from The Emily Post Institute offers great advice.
- ‘Disconnect to reconnect!’ No television, no earbuds, no smartphones at the dinner table. (Although food photos for Instagram could be an exception to the rule!)
- Start the week off right by making Monday family cooking day. You’ll find some great recipes and tips at The Kids Cook Monday!
- Create a rotating after-dinner task list that includes clearing and cleaning the dining room table, doing the dishes and loading the dishwasher, putting leftovers away, throwing out the trash, etc.
Whether you already have a family meals routine in place or you are interested in starting a family meals routine, we commend you for bringing your family to the table. Families that eat together, stay together!