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Values & Education

The Family That Eats Together

A family that eats together stays together. This is an age old saying that still holds true value.
Most of the families have busy schedules these days. With both parents working and kids juggling between school and extracurricular activities there is little time to relax, sit and just talk.

An open conversation can do wonders in building the confidence of the child. Sometime it seems we are just rushing through life. The day starts with getting up early to pack tiffin and snacks, getting kids ready for school and ending the morning by rushing to the office. Evenings are not much fun either by sending kids to sports /activity class and finishing homework. The only time when I feel relaxed and at ease with the day coming to an end and nothing much left in my to-do list is dinner time.

Family dinner time is to connect and get to know at what happens at school. This also shows that parent is interested in their child’s life and her small stories of what’s happening in his world. Even a 3 year old can understand when you are actually listening to their rants with attention or just listening with 10 other things going simultaneously in your brain. I also get to know more about their day during dinner time.

My questions at dinner table usually revolve around:

1. Which was the best part of your day?
2. What thing you didn’t like today?
3. What new things did you learn at school today?
4. Which thing you couldn’t understand well in the school today?

These 4 things pretty much give me a clear and concise idea of what happened in my kids’s life. I also use this time in telling them what’s going on at my end.

We love to talk about what food we are eating and what they would like to eat the next day. You can also convince them to try new things by eating them yourself first. We also talk about the nutritional value of food. There is no way we could be doing this much of conversation with the TV running. So we have a thumb rule – no TV during meal time and we manage to follow it most of days in a week.

This is also one of my tricks to lessen their TV time. They can watch before or after a meal, but not during meals. I feel dinner time is most important part of my day. Time when all things in the to do list are done, time when I stop thinking about pending work at the office and home and time to be just with family. Kids are always curious to know what mom and dad do in their office whole day. For them the main work is household work and if you say you work on the computer, there is a huge possibility they will assume you are playing computer games.

Some other benefits of eating together are:

1. Kids can help parents in setting dinner table and learn table manner as well.
2. You can fix an early dinner time for the whole family. Experts say there should be a gap of 2 hours in eating and sleeping.
3. We sometimes play games like Chinese whispers or build a story together during dinner. This makes dinner time interesting and they look forward to eating together.
4. Young children get a sense of belonging to the family and this belonging helps them in developing confidence at a younger age.

Does your family eat together? Looking forward to hear your views on dinner time.