Yeah, eating together. You picture a perfectly arranged table, delicious food, twinkling candles, and a warm glow of the room. Then finally reality strikes! You have one or two young children and a family meal is sometimes a stressful event. You need to juggle the desires and nutritional needs of everyone in the family and if you have children, you need to take into consideration about things that are appropriate for them. On the other hand, you don’t want to prepare too many meals, which can be both stressful and exhausting!
We already know the underlying premise of family meal: We eat together to stay together. Most parents couldn’t agree more with it. Naturally, our life gets hectic and sometimes we can’t eat together as a complete family – but at least, we can try to gather as much as possible.
For ages, experts have agreed that meals sharing can reinforce the family’s bond. Certainly, family meals will not end all your family’s troubles, but they can give you some nice benefits:
Things You Should and Shouldn’t Do During a Family Meal
If you are convinced that eating together is a great idea, but you are not quite sure what to do – especially if the entire family hasn’t developed the habit of eating together. Don’t worry, with these advices you may finally enjoy the family-meal greatness.
Try to be flexible
Of course, life is hectic for many of us, but you should be flexible when gathering your family members. Realize that sometimes, some other priorities will disrupt family mealtime schedule so that it feels like an impossible feat. Don’t fret, it’s okay to dispense with the community meal a few times, but try gather as much as possible. If a few priorities tend to interrupt your family time too often, take a quick look at the family’s schedule and consider changing it to make it more flexible and can accommodate a regular mealtime. You should treat family mealtime as a similarly important activity as business dinners. You should strike a balance between the demands of life, and family meals, but you should be sure your family can eat together at least five times a week.
Don’t upset the schedule
Family dinnertime can be difficult due to scheduling problems. Sarah has singing classes and Ronnie has football practice, you have too many works at office, and so forth. Trying to get everyone gather on the table each day can be a challenge, why not try to eat together on breakfast? Sure, you will need to get up one hour earlier than normal, but talking with a family before a busy day can make you more productive and less susceptible to stress. Preparing breakfast shouldn’t be difficult, try to cook dinner double the needed amount, serve the half and put the other halt to the fridge. Warming those dishes for breakfast or packing for the lunch should take less than ten minutes. No need to prepare everything from scratch by waking up at 5 AM!
Get everyone involved
The idea of working together with the whole family to prepare a meal may make you cringe as you expect for all troubles that may come. Instead, consider cooking time as a precious time together which allows you to work and help each other. Give everyone the right task and expect them to do all the cooking and cleaning up. When everyone participates, you all join forces as a family, which can build expectations while keeping you and the spouse from being the servant, try to foster teamwork within your family.
Getting your family to work together shouldn’t be difficult if you can set an example. You need to be firm – tell them that working and eating together are important and compulsory, tell them you need their help. In fact, even small children can help, for example a 4-year-old should be able to help you set and clear the table. Smaller children can also help rinse non-glass eating utensils and put them in the dishwasher.
Try to give them some control. Make a Sunday afternoon meal something that you’re waiting for. Take requests and discuss the menu, to allow your whole family works together and enjoy foods they help to prepare. You don’t need to turn your family into a beacon of democracy, but some compromises never hurts.
Don’t pretend to be a gourmet chef
Families need to be on the practical and realistic side of life. If you have plenty of time to prepare a phenomenal family meal then by all means, do it! In most cases, though, you should be realistic, and often you have to do it really quickly! Scour the Internet for practical and down-to-earth recipes, which can fit your busy lifestyle.
Ignore outside disturbances
Obviously, mealtime will not always be picture-perfect, you may not always have family mealtime that you desire. Several distractions frequently put a damper on our family gathering activities. To make time for excellent family time, eliminate potential disruptions. These are a few ways avoid them: