Sitting down for a regular healthy family meal can be a real challenge for working parents. Add to that having a teenager in your home who has an ever-changing schedule and a family meal can seem nearly impossible. But the benefits of those few minutes together as a family is too good to pass up.
- Improves Your family Health: 25% of parents report their children eat fast food like french fries three or more times a week. Studies show that parents who model good eating habits have teens with better eating habits.
- Creates Communication with Your Teen: This is a perfect opportunity to spend a few minutes talking together. It’s the one time in your day you have a captive audience with your teen. Keep it simple by asking a few open-ended questions. This is not really the time for a heavy conversation.
- Dials Down the Noise: Make your meals technology free by leaving the cell phones and laptops in another room, turning off the TV, and ignoring the pesky telemarketers. This will help you remove other distractions so you can focus on one another. The whole meal only lasts about eighteen minutes. Surely you can do without your cell phone for that long.
- Strengthens Your Teen’s Community: In biblical times when two people ate a meal together it was seen as a symbol of community with one another. Make meal time open for your teen’s friends to join you. You’ll be amazed at what your kid’s friends will share with you over a home cooked meal. It’s almost like your fried chicken primes the pump of their mouth and they start sharing all kinds of info.
Most of all make meal time a fun experience by doing unusual things. Grill outside. Take a picnic basket to the park. Go out to eat food you’ve never had before. Have everyone cook part of their favorite meal then put it all together. Go out for ice cream after dinner. All of these things create a shared memory for your entire family.