Today, television and the internet have taken a very important place in our lives. So much so that they are present at the table as if they were one more diner. The worst of all is that they monopolize our attention and do not allow us to enjoy the benefits of eating as a family. What are these advantages? We tell you in the next article.
Family food is not what it used to be
Perhaps, the typical image of advertising – a few years ago – was a marriage with their children enjoying a meal or a dinner in the kitchen. Although today it is still the image that a product wants to have in its packaging, the truth is that it does not match reality so much.
At present, parents work outside the home all day and when they arrive they do not have the time or inclination to prepare an elaborate dish . In addition, in all rooms of the house there is television and children, from small, already have tablets and phones.
This results in a quick dinner without interaction between family members. The same happens at breakfast : everyone in a hurry because they are late, listening to the news or looking at how that time will be.
Family lunch is practically lost. Today, children eat at school and parents at the office . The weekends each one rises at a different time and if for some reason the schedules and activities coincide, it seems that the ‘star’ of the house can not be missing, that is, that box that speaks to us, but does not listen to us.
Those long tables that both our grandparents were proud of and gave them happiness were forgotten. Now everything is automated; we look like robots, we are hypnotized in front of a screen. We do not talk with our parents and siblings, we do not know how their day has been, we do not ask them how they feel …
Why is eating in the family so important?
Regardless of age or who we live with, it is always good to eat as a family, as it allows us to forge certain ties and enjoy the company (even for 15 minutes). In this era of bright screens and tight schedules it would not hurt to reinforce the idea that sharing dinner is the most wonderful thing of the day.
1. Increase the intake of vegetables and fruits
Undoubtedly, it is not the same to take snacks to your mouth while watching television or mobile phone when you are aware of what is on the plate. In addition, it helps us to control intake and portions, as well as to enjoy the taste of food.
2. Improved communication
The typical question of how did you do today in the school / office? It seems to be in danger of extinction. When eating as a family, we just sit around the table. With the television turned off and the cell phones away ‘we have no other choice’ than to talk to those who are next to us.
Maybe at first it seems a little strange, but eventually everyone will look forward to this moment of the day to talk and indagar sobre algún problema, comprender ciertos comportamientos, opinar sobre diferentes temas y ver la perspectiva del otro. The conversations that revolve around this encounter are wonderful, they allow us to inquire about a problem, understand certain behaviors, comment on different topics and see the perspective of the other.
3. Avoid problems
In relation to the above, we must also bear in mind that eating with the family is essential when there are children and adolescents at home. This ‘obligation’ to speak at the table can avoid behavior problems, addictions, depression or any situation that affects them.
Maybe a child in that stage is very uncommunicative and closes in on himself, but if he observes daily how the other members of the family interact he can change his attitude. For this it is essential that electronic devices are off the table .
It is also good to know that sharing a family meal is good for children with difficulties at school. If the child feels that the parents have an interest in their studies, they will undoubtedly do their best to improve and obtain good grades.
4. Teach good manners
Asking for please, thanking, helping with household chores and waiting our turn to speak are some of the things you learn when eating with your family. Children at a certain age are like ‘sponges’ that absorb everything they see and hear.
Therefore, it is essential to take advantage of dinner time to instill certain values. And what better way than to lead by example.
It can even be useful for children to start helping in the preparation of simple dishes (for example, salads), setting the table, picking up the dishes or taking out the garbage. That may even be another topic of conversation at dinner!