Over the past two decades, more studies than you can count have been done to focus on the most important factors in raising emotionally strong, balanced children. Almost all of them came to the same conclusion: Eating together as a family is one of the most important influences in raising healthy, balanced children.
The more families who eat together, the less likely the children are to use drugs, suffer from depression, develop an eating disorder, or overcome many other behavioral problems.
The positives are also increasing. Regular family meal times can improve a child’s school performance, communication skills, and overall enjoyment of life.
Despite the benefits, families often find it difficult to spend time eating together. Young children have practice, older children have jobs after class, and parents keep trying to manage everything.
What does a family do when family meals fall by the wayside, especially when there is no schedule one is likely to pass at any hour?
The starting place is to remember that family dinners are not really about food. They are a time to socialize, share, celebrate, and encourage each other. Silent roaring smartphones and squawking televisions from the background, and the dinner table can be a great place to develop the depth of your relationships.
Food-wise, focus on what your family has potential do, not yours not possible. If you can’t cook a full dinner with all the decorations, make sandwiches. If dinner per night is not a realistic option, start one night per week. And if the night doesn’t work out, try breakfast or lunch.
We have more ideas for you in our Family Broadcast Focus “Enjoying Mealtime Time as a Family”With famous guest Ted Cunningham. He shared how he and his wife, Amy, approached their family meal time. They had ideas from honoring each other around the dinner table to playing board games. They even offer encouragement for single mothers and single fathers who carry the burden of the family on their own shoulders.
Ted is the founding pastor of Woodland Hills Family Church in Branson, Missouri. He and Amy wrote a book titled Go to the Family Table: Slow Down to Enjoy Mealtime, Each Other, and Jesus.
For our year -end campaign here at Focus on the Family, generous friends donate to every donation you make to this ministry. Which means your gift will even double to save a painful marriage, equip parents, and give families hope. For a gift of any amount, I will send you a copy of Ted and Amy BOOKS. Visit our website for more information or call 1-800-A-FAMILY (232-6459).