In today’s world, it’s not unusual for the after-school-after-work hours to be spent rushing around.
Maybe you're shipping kids to and from their hobbies, or rushing home from work because you got held up in a meeting. Or perhaps trying to help with homework assignments – inevitably left until the last minute. But when was the last time you all sat down to eat an evening meal as a family? When we were in the process of inventing doddl children's utensil sets and bringing them to life, we conducted a lot of research around eating habits and family mealtimes. Commonly, children are fed earlier and often given different foods than their parents. So are the traditional ‘family mealtimes’ a thing of the past? We hope not, and here’s a few reasons why…
Use the dining table as your court. Meal times are the perfect time to share stories about how your day has been. Maybe discuss what happened at school or kindergarten, and make plans as a family. With older children, it can also help to identify any changes in behavior, that may indicate an emotional issue such as bullying.
Children who observe their parents eating a wider variety of foods can be more willing to try more and be less fussy. It is a case of ‘monkey see, monkey do’. This works especially well when siblings are also eating the same foods.
Investing time to sit and demonstrate table etiquette to your child. This means that you can instill in them the social skills that will pay dividends when both eating in and out of the home.
Appreciation for food preparation
Not only does a home-cooked meal mean your children’s nutrition will benefit, but your bank balance will too. Get your children involved in the preparation of the meal. It will mean that they can understand the effort that goes into cooking meals. And you can sit down proudly together to tuck in. Our doddl children's knife is the perfect tool for your kids to safely learn how to chop veggies!
General happiness levels
Research has shown that eating as a family has an overall impact on the general happiness of children, helping children to be more emotionally stable. So if sitting down together for family meal times seems an impossible task, try to introduce a few opportunities to share this time together. Even if just on weekends. Grab the utensils, teach the kids how to set the table, and get stuck in!