How To Raise a Food Ninja – Social
Meal time has been a social event in every culture for centuries. We eat to celebrate things, we eat when we are emotional (good or bad), and we eat because someone tells us it’s time to eat. However, family meal time has become an “on the go” type of routine. The drive through is the number one place to get dinner and then meals are eaten in the car on the way to the next afterschool activity. By doing this, families no longer have that time to reconnect after a busy day.
For years, dinner time with the family was something everyone looked forward to. It was a time to “catch up” and share stories. And although it seems like a thing of the past, the benefits of family meal time are still important and help children develop in a socially healthy way. It’s a time for parents and children to communicate, for parents to help build healthy self-esteem in their children, and for children to model healthy eating habits and table manners.
- Communication: Talking during meal time is one of the best ways for parents to find out more about what is going on their children’s lives but make sure the TV is turned off. Meal time is a time for families to slow down together, which leads to bonding time with each other and gives children a sense of security.
- Build Self-Esteem: Because there is better communication when families sit down together to eat, children have better self-esteem. Feeling safe, as mentioned in communication, has a huge impact on a child’s self-esteem. This, in turn, helps them make better decisions when it comes to peer pressure in social events with friends.
- Healthy and Effective Eating Habits: Meal time together is a great way for parents to role model healthy eating habits. Children who have sit down meals with their parents tend to eat more vegetables and be open to trying new foods. This is also a great time for parents to teach children polite table manners.
The benefits of family meal time on a child’s social development is huge. Start out by finding at least 2 meals a week that the whole family can sit down together and re-connect. Although it may seem impossible now, parents will find that making this time will significantly benefit their children’s social development. As a result, children will use these healthy habits when they are on their own in social events with friends.