The entire family benefits from a sit down meal where they can communicate and share stories, keep informed about each other’s lives and spend quality time together. It is important for kids and teenagers to eat consciously so that they taste their food and develop a healthy relationship with food. Eating unconsciously can lead to all sorts of negative issues with food later on and as parents, we want our kids to grow up healthy and confident with their food choices.
Turn the TV Off
Having a family meal with the television blaring in the background robs you of genuine time with your family. When your family sits down to dinner, turn off the television, and talk with each other. Sometimes the only time together that a family has is mealtime and if you have the television on, chances are your kids and teens will be gazing off at it and not really present at the table. TV time should be kept for specific times of the day, such as an after dinner movie.
Soft Dinner Music
A great addition to a family dinner is soft background music. If you put on music that is loud and harsh, it can add a negative vibe to the meal. Many people unconsciously eat faster and stuff food in their mouths when there is loud adrenaline-pumping music playing in the background.
No Texting, Phones, or Gadgets
This is a big one. When you and your family sit down for a family meal, make sure all of your children put their gadgets and technical devices away. Teens like to text at all hours of the day, but make it imperative that texting is not allowed at the table, at any time. Make it a house rule. Do not allow games, phones or anything that draws their attention away from their meal or family time.
Choose a Topic of Conversation
When you sit down for dinner, choose an interesting topic to discuss with your kids. Choose something that your kids are interested in such as sports, a favorite game, or ask them about their friendships at school. Choose any topic that will help them relax and eat their meal, but also give them the opportunity to spend some genuine time with the family.
Keeping kids and teenagers focused at mealtime is important for their well-being, social development, and overall health. The sooner kids can develop a healthy relationship with food, the better off they will be. A healthy relationship with food can mean a healthy lifestyle overall.