Gathering around the dinner table is a common practice for many Australian families. Unfortunately, this tradition is declining due to the increasing influence of digital technology. However, as parenting short courses demonstrate, families maintaining this daily mealtime ritual tend to be closer-knit. Here’s how regular meals at the dinner table can help develop better relationships with your kids, and make your family closer.
Did You Know?
These days, approximately half of Australians have dinner while watching TV, missing out on a valuable bonding opportunity. This decline is more pronounced in Western culture. In contrast, in Asia, eating remains a social activity, with family members of all ages spending quality time together during meals.
Why Is Dinner Important For Families?
While the bonding aspect of family mealtimes is crucial, it's not the only good thing about eating together. Even if you can manage just one meal a day, it can make a big difference in your parenting plan and managing your child’s behaviour. Let's take a closer look at the many positive effects of this simple daily routine.
- Keeping Track Of Your Child's Progress
Family dinner helps you keep track of how your child is doing in school and life in general. This is especially true with teenagers, who often head straight to their rooms after coming home, and it's easy to miss out on discussing their day at school. With busy lives, it's easy to lose track, but when you gather around the dinner table every day, you have a chance to talk and address any issues that might be bothering them.
- Validation At Home Is Important For Your Child
You don't need to be a child psychology expert to understand that kids have a lot on their minds. They need to talk about their problems, just like anyone else. If they don't get this validation at home, they may seek it elsewhere. Dinner time at the table provides an opportunity to offer support and guidance, reducing the chances of them falling in with the wrong crowd.
- Improved Performance Academically
When children converse with adults at the dinner table, they can learn about a wide range of topics beyond what they cover at school. This exposure helps support the learning and development of your child. Engaging in friendly dinnertime debates also hones their critical thinking and argumentative skills, which will benefit them in their academic journey. This is something they're unlikely to get when eating in front of the TV.
- A Healthier Diet With More Nutrition
Family mealtimes also promote healthy eating for kids. Home-cooked meals tend to be better for you than convenience food. Additionally, involving kids in cooking teaches them traditions and encourages them to continue this practice when they have their own families. Childcare courses emphasise the importance of nutrition for development, and family meals are a great way to provide nourishment.
The benefits of dining together as a family are numerous, and we've only scratched the surface here. If it's not something you're currently doing, don't worry; you can change your mealtime routine at any time with the help of OCA parenting courses.
OCA’s Online Parenting Courses – Your Key to Better Relationships
There’s no handbook for raising children, but with a video-based CPD Endorsed parenting course from OCA, the job becomes a whole lot easier. Think one-on-one mentoring and lifetime access to course content from wherever you are.
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