Making Time for Family Dinners
Breaking Bread and Building Intimacy
Experts agree that it’s best if the dinner hour is a time for talking about light subjects and sharing tidbits about the day. It should be a time for laughing together and building intimacy as a family. DeBroff suggests keeping the conversation upbeat, as the whole point is to enjoy each other, not to use mealtime to discuss serious issues or grievances.
To increase the focus on the family, turn off the TV and the radio. Let an answering machine pick up any phone calls.
“Sitting around a table physically helps to bond a group, and breaking bread together unites people socially,” says Dr. Sally Goldberg, Ph.D., parenting specialist and Professor of Early Childhood Education at Nova Southeastern University in Florida.
Lisa Groen Braner, author of The Mother’s Book of Well-Being: Caring for Yourself So You Can Care for Your Baby, and a mother of two young children agrees. “Families need to bond, and the dinner table is a great place for that. Everyone has a chance to discuss their day, and listen to one another.” Her family shares the evening meal five to seven times a week. “The ritual of dinner, of breaking bread, is one that provides comfort to children and parents. Rituals can be as sacred as we make them, and a healthy dinner and thoughtfully set table nourishes our bodies and our souls.”
Rituals for Life
Family dinnertime rituals helps establish lifelong routines. “A day has important divisions, and the dinner meal serves to make a transition from the active part of the day to a more quiet part that will soon turn into a routine for getting ready for bed,” notes Dr. Goldberg. The time together also provides an important time for little ones to learn about manners and etiquette.
Furthermore, it can help provide security in an uncertain world. “What each person eats at dinner is less important than the fact that the opportunity for a nutritious meal is being provided on a regular basis,” she says.
YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN