by Texas Homesteader ~
Family supper time is more important than you might think. Studies show that gathering around the supper table together each day as a family offers more than just a meal. I’m sharing the impact it made on our family.
Our Family Supper Time Routine
When our children lived at home we always sat at the table and ate supper together as a family. It was an important and non-negotiable family tradition of ours.
So much so that there were no distractions allowed during our meals together.
Our rule was that everyone stayed around the table until the last one was finished before anyone was allowed to leave the table.
Oh, and no phones were to be brought to the table. If a phone did ring somewhere in the house, it was not answered if we were still having supper.
And even if one of their friends showed up at the front door during supper, the doorbell was not answered. All of that could wait until after we’d spent this important family time together.
Many Families Face Hurried Days
Meal times back then were often different at the homes of many of our children’s friends.
Maybe the younger kids might eat at the table to help contain any messes. The older kids would eat whenever their schedule allowed, oftentimes in their own rooms. And the parents might eat in the living room in front of the TV, looking for a little relaxation & entertainment after a long, hard day.
Of course there’s no judgment here. What works for one family may not work for another.
And we all have different schedules & familial obligations. Each household strives to work in a way that works best for them.
Family Time’s Importance In A Rushed World
But for us, suppertime was more than just physical nourishment. It was emotional nourishment as well.
A chance to disconnect from the outside world for just a bit and share our time together as a family.
There was always much conversation and laughing. And often a little good-natured sibling ribbing too.
The kids talked about their day to us and to each other. Oh the conversations that were had!
I often pondered what might happen if only there was a fly on the wall during our suppertime conversations. LOL
Afterward there were a few simple chores to complete. Each child had a hand in the meal preparation or cleanup, and those chores were rotated on a weekly basis.
One child cleared the table and put away any leftovers in the fridge. Another child would help load the dishwasher & wipe down the kitchen counters, etc.
It was just part of our family routine and everyone was involved in the work as well as the benefit of the meal, for the common good of our family.
Suppertime With Busy Teenagers
Of course it got harder & harder to gather together at one table as the kids got older and involved in extracurricular activities.
There were soccer, track and band practices that sometimes took place during our meal times. And part-time jobs soon entered the scene and hampered some of the kids being able to gather at the table with us.
Still any of our children that were present at suppertime dined together with us at the table.
Studies Show Benefits of Sharing Family Meals
It’s not only the enjoyment of spending time together that’s important. Studies show many other surprising benefits as well.
BENEFITS OF FAMILY DINNERS ACCORDING TO The Family Dinner Project:
Our belief in the “magic” of family dinners is grounded in research on the physical, mental and emotional benefits of regular family meals. Some of the specific benefits of family dinners are:
- Better academic performance
- Higher self-esteem
- Greater sense of resilience
- Lower risk of substance abuse
- Lower risk of teen pregnancy
- Lower risk of depression
- Lower likelihood of developing eating disorders
- Lower rates of obesity
Child’s Surprising Revelation Years later
Then a few years ago one of our adult daughters approached us at a family gathering. She mentioned how much those family suppers meant to her and how she felt it bonded our blended family together.
Although she certainly never showed her appreciation when she was a kid, she was very appreciative now as an adult. She said many of her friends didn’t have the opportunity to enjoy family meals together back then.
Members of those families seemed too busy to sit down together and share that precious time. And she felt that emotional distance kept those families from being as close as they could have been.
But her impression was that our family supper time brought us together and made us all closer.
We’d shared our lives during this seemingly mundane daily event. And she appreciated it more than we knew.
Isn’t it funny the things your children pick up and carry with them into adulthood?
So if you’re gathering around a family supper table each night to eat, you may be surprised at the results – apparently both now and way into your children’s adulthood!
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