This is something I get asked all the time! The good news is, my answer is pretty straightforward.
Eat together as a family, as often as you can.
Family meals can be at the dining table, on the floor together, outside on a picnic rug or at a restaurant. It really doesn't matter as long as you do it together and you enjoy the experience.
Some families like formal meals and set tables, and other families are more casual about mealtimes. Regardless of how your mealtimes go, make time to stop and eat together. This can be tough in our fast-paced world!
Eating as a family is beneficial for so many reasons. Research shows that it helps kids to improve their speech and language skills, and family meals have been linked to better academic performance at school. Evidence also suggests that children who eat regular family meals have better mental health and are less likely to become overweight or obese. Pretty impressive isn't it!
If you and your family would like to eat together more often then start small- choose one meal every few days to have together. Encourage your kids to be part of the mealtime set up or pack up. Talk to each other during the meal, about your day or upcoming family events. Show your children how you enjoy food and eating together as a family. The benefits are worth the effort!
If you have concerns about fussiness, or difficulty setting up family meals then please contact us for an appointment with a paediatric dietitian. We offer in-home appointments in Perth Western Australia, and email or skype consultations worldwide.