There's a popular saying - "family who eats together, stays together." This is especially true in an Asian household as family meals are an essential part of our tradition. But in recent years, these get-together mealtimes have been a challenge due to our busy over-scheduled lives. With work, school, extracurricular activities, and social events, it makes it difficult for parents and kids to find time to share a meal together.
Studies found that families who eat together regularly have a healthier and stronger relationship with one another. Here are a few important reasons why family dinners should be prioritised in every household.
1. CLOSER FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS
Eating together means spending quality time together. We get to catch up on the lives of other family members and get to know them a little more. Encourage each member to share about their day and experiences. You can also talk about interesting topics and hobbies with everyone. For younger kids, family meals can promote a sense of belonging and love in the family.
2. TABLE MANNERS
Eating together allow parents to guide and teach children about good table manners. In an Asian family, proper dining etiquette is vital, and this is the best time for parents to be role models to children.
3. PREPARING AND SERVING MEALS TOGETHER
Having family meals promote teamwork too. Parents can guide children to prepare meals together. This can be a fun family activity like washing and cutting vegetables, setting the table, and washing dishes together after the meal. Also, it can teach children to learn about what they eat and encourage healthy eating habits.
4. STRESS RELIEVER
Researchers found that working parents who have regular family meals are less stress and tension. Similarly, children who eat with their parents are more likely to be happier and have better mental health.
5. HEALTHIER KIDS
Eating together also helps reduce obesity or overweight in children because they follow parents' healthy eating habits and routines. Home-cooked meals also generally have fewer calories and are more nutritious.