Most of us know and realize how important family dinners are. Several studies have even proven the benefits of gathering around the dinner table every night. The Washington Post ran an article some time ago that struck a chord with me. It basically detailed all of the great things that COULD come about from having family dinner. I say COULD with emphasis, because every person and situation is different. A few of the benefits they detailed were:
- Young children gain better vocabulary skills
- Decreased the severity of asthma in kids (this one is up for debate)
- Increased nutritional value for children and adults
- Lowered anxiety among family members (especially adolescence)
The list goes on-and-on depending which study you refer to. Not to take anything away from these amazing studies; but let’s face it, our schedules can be so hectic- 9 times out of 10, it is just impossible to get everyone gathered around the table every night. If your family is anything like mine, you are a working parent(s), and your kids pull you in as many directions as you allow them to. In my particular situation, two teenagers, club sports, and two elementary school kids in recreational sports, we’re always being pulled in a different direction. On any given night, I’m whisking my daughter to club volleyball, while my husband is juggling dinner and the boys activities. And let’s not forget about the fact that some nights we’re not all in the house until well after 6:00pm from work.
How to achieve quality time with our family with hectic work/life schedules?
There is no right or wrong answer. What has worked for me though, is making the best of our time when we are all able to be together. We most definitely strive to sit down together as a family every night, so when it’s possible, it happens.
DON’T BE SO HARD ON YOURSELF!
We do not have a strict or set eating time. If dinner is done at 8:00 PM, we’re eating at 8:00PM. Prepping the meals ahead of time is a life saver for me and my family though. I chop enough vegetables and store them in containers to use for the week. Stocking your fridge and pantries properly is super important when it comes to whipping up a quick and tasty meal. I’m going to touch on that one another day! Definitely check out the recipes on here and stay tuned for many-many more because Razzle Dazzle Life is all about quick and easy! But for the sake of the family coming together for a meal, it most certainly doesn’t need to be fancy. One of our motto’s is “as long as the kids are fed, and bellies are full, we're good!”
It is not uncommon in the south to have large meals. These large meals are normally cooked on Sunday's. So with the goal of eating together as a family, we named Sunday “BIG PLATE SUNDAY!” It is usually the one day that nobody has activities; and the one day that we’ve committed to cooking a nice meal and pausing our busy lives to come together to eat. So honestly, even if you’re able to have one- or two-family dinners a week, you have won! You’ve made the decision to pause, and gather your family around the dinner table at least once. All the other days that you eat together after that are just bonuses. So, if you’re having a hard time eating together as a family, or if it’s just not your family’s thing, challenge yourself to start a tradition. Pick at least ONE day out of the week to eat together. That one day may eventually turn into 3 or 4!
What are some ways you and your family spend quality time? Leave me a comment down below!