This post is sponsored by MasterFoods
Family dinner time is that moment in the day that I continually cherish. We have always been a ‘sit at the dining table together to eat dinner’ type family, as I love the interaction and opportunity for conversation. Ever since the kids were little, from the moment the babies could sit up they joined us in their highchairs playing with a toy (as I would have fed them earlier). Then when the kids were a little older, we always eat dinner together.
Some weekdays are hectic with Dad out working with clients, then the kids getting ready for school, to sports training and homework after school, it’s rare for us to be together as a family prior to dinner time. Having dinner together as a family is very much needed for our family dynamic.
Meal on table: Zucchini and Sweet Potato Slice.
Recently while we were eating dinner Prime Minister Malcolm Turnball was on the news, I can’t quite remember what he was talking about, but Miss 11 didn’t understand and asked me to clarify. I looked at her with a blank face as I didn’t really understand either and Mr 13 quickly answered her question before Dad could step in for me. Mr 13 has full and complete understanding of what is happening in the Australian government, he’s a sponge and just absorbed as much information as he can. It’s moments like these that allows the kids to ask questions, about life, news, school etc, no question is too silly. They have our full attention to be able to answer their questions, sometimes we find ourselves sitting at the table long after we’ve finished dinner chatting about our day, highs and lows, it’s a really good routine to have in place to bring the family closer together.
Reasons why we make time for family dinner
Our family dinners provide each of us with a sense of togetherness, love and security, which I hope will positively impact my children as they grow.
Benefits for the kids
- communication – it’s a great opportunity to share details about the day, with parents asking questions to prompt communication. ie, what did you learn in maths today? Do you remember what was the story about at kindy? With parents taking an interest in how their day was gives the child a sense of security and an opportunity to communicate the perhaps not so good, either struggles with understanding a maths problem to troubles in the playground.
- ask questions – we do have the TV on in the background, which is always the News. Once the kids got older this was and still is a great opportunity for them to learn what is happening in our world, from wars, to government debate and tragedies. This is a chance for them to ask questions and learn about the realities of life.
- learn manners – with the children watching mum and dad at the table, they will learn appropriate table manners and eating etiquette. Then always once finished, to express their thanks to the person that cooked dinner.
- improve social skills – get kids to ask you about your day, show an interest, this will help improve their social skills.
- trying new foods – eating together is a great opportunity to encourage your child to try new foods. When my kids were really little they loved trying food off my plate, then slowly that new food would appear on their plate. This helped them to expand their taste.
Benefits for mum and dad
- calming – after a long day at work, the simple pleasure of sitting at the table with family can help to reduce stress that may have been brought home from work.
- nutritious and healthy meals – planning our dinners allows me to make healthy meal choices, not resorting to takeaway, which also saves money.
- teaching life lessons – My kids love to help me in the kitchen, this is teaching them necessities in life, from nutrition and food preparation to cooking. This basic knowledge will prepare them for when they move out of home, it’s basic life lessons like these that teach them about responsibility and help to create independence.
- listening to the kids – I can learn so much about my child when listening to them, by engaging in conversation it’s providing them with a chance to express their own opinions which is allowing the children to have their own personal identity and an active voice in the family.
MasterFoods recently asked some kids ‘who they’d like to have dinner with, out of everyone in the world’? Their answers made their parents cry. Little do we know how much the children cherish family time.
Make the pledge #MakeDinnertimeMatter
I want to ask you this….. Do you eat dinner with your family every night?
Yes – share with me in the comments below, why eating together as a family is so important for you?
No – make the pledge in the comments below that you will try and make dinnertime a family gathering every night and why it would be important for you to do so.