According to this article in the Globe and Mail, the family dinner is a myth. According to the article, sitting down to eat a healthy, home-cooked meal with family actually brings more harm than good. The article argues that the stress of cooking a meal where everyone sits down to enjoy together takes away from time you can be spending with your family and that it is overrated.
We disagree that a family dinner has to be stressful and not beneficial. There are many benefits to a family dinner.
When children are exposed to a healthy home-cooked meal often, they get into the habit of taking on healthy eating habits in the future. Their childhood food choices inform habits in the future.
The article argued that the stress of cooking took away from spending time with family. We believe the opposite is true. Taking time out of your day to sit down with your family at dinner reinforces the idea of putting aside the screen and spending time engaging with your family.
If the actual cooking process is what is keeping you from spending quality family time together, then involve your child! You can spend quality time cooking together. Your child can help mix or stir, while you handle the stove top. Involving your children with the cooking process teaches them how much work goes into a meal and allows them to better appreciate what is on the table. Children are less likely to be picky eaters when they know the process that goes into preparing their meals.
It’s not always possible to have dinners together – after school programs, working late, and entertaining sometimes takes precedent over the family meal. Still, children who spend time with their families regularly grow up with fewer behavioural problems. A sit down family dinner, one where family members engage with one another is significant in the development of a growing child.
There still is value in eating together, calmly, happily, and as a family. It’s why all of our meals at Childventures Early Learning Academy are served family style in accordance with our Nutrition Program.