The hectic daily lives of people living in a rapidly changing modern society have reduced the opportunity for family mealtimes in recent decades, which may have a negative impact on emotional health. It's easy to take eating together for granted, especially when we're no longer living together with our parents, in college or working. Eating together with family is vital for a child and adolescent's development, and the benefits extend to the entire family, including adults.
What are the benefits?
Everyone sat around the table to eat and converse about the events of the day during family meals. Everything came to a halt. It was time to refocus, discuss things, and figure out what was going on.
Mealtime promotes effective communications. People may have an excellent opportunity to engage and converse with one another during family dinner. What your family eats or where your meals take place is less important than conversation, both talking and listening. Good conversation develops connection and creates a safe and caring environment in which we may "figure things out." Regular family mealtimes also foster intimacy among family members by building a sense of belonging. When compared to individuals who eat with their family, those who eat alone have less interaction and social support. Positive family mealtimes assist family members retain relationships. Family members can feel loved, safe, and secure when they can count on their family on a regular basis. As they learn about their family's values and beliefs, family members form lifelong emotional bonds.
Improving family communication and providing more structure and stability in family interactions through regular family mealtimes, according to studies, can protect against depressive mood, rage, and other psychological issues. Kids may not feel the urge to seek approval from the wrong crowd if they feel welcomed and accepted by their family. Adolescents are less prone to be depressed and have higher self-esteem in general. Among other words, eating disorders, alcohol and substance abuse, violent conduct, despair, and suicidal thoughts in adolescents can all be prevented, according to a 2015 review by a group of Canadian academics.
Overall, research shows that eating meals together as a family benefits children and adolescents intellectually, emotionally, socially, and physically. As we can see from the explanations in this article, these advantages may be applied and enjoyed by adults and the whole family members as well. Mealtime is an excellent opportunity to instill good manners, enhance communication, and prevent behavioral issues. The consistency of sitting for meals at set times throughout the day helps reassure an individual.
How can we start doing it?
It's not too late to restart the tradition of regular family mealtime. In the middle of our hectic schedules, we may start planning mealtime with our families on less busy days. Dinner isn't the only time you can eat with your family. Any meal, at any moment, will suffice. Breakfast or a weekend lunch are both good options. Make a note of it in our calendar and invite our family members to join. We may also do this with our friends or partner to strengthen our bond and improve our communication with them.