The family is the basic unit of every society. Needless to say, we need to strengthen that basic unit in order to have a strong community and eventually, a strong nation. Basic things like eating family meals are often neglected but these times together can further strengthen the bond between members. Let’s look at why family meals should become habit in every Filipino home.
Family meals should be top priority
Family meals should be important parts of the day for the whole family. These meals should be lovingly and carefully prepared.
And most of all, this is a time of fellowship among family members.
In current times, our family structures have strayed far from the stereotype of “ideal”. In past generations, the ideal scenario would be parents and young children living together.
But because of changes in our society, we now have different family structures. There are single moms, single dads, OFW families, extended families, and many more.
Sense of Family
There is a sense of great assurance in “family”. So whatever structure your family is, the leader should make it a point to provide that sense of assurance. Each member should feel validated, loved, and have a sense of belonging.
And the best time to do that is during family meals.
Why Family Meals are Important
Here are some reasons why family meals are important and should be given priority.
Even if you are blood-related, family members can easily become strangers. That is because the connection was somehow lost or cut along the way.
Working parents or teenage children can easily become “boarders”. They treat the home like a boarding house because they merely come and go. There is no sense of belonging. And it also follows that there’s no sense of responsibility.
The connection between family members need to be reinforced everyday.
Talk about the day
Take a great interest in what happened to your child’s or husband’s day. Ask them how their day went and the conversation will surely get going.
If you are not used to doing this, it might take some prying to get them talking.
If you have young kids, they will have a lot of questions. I should know, I am a stay at home, homeschooling in Bacolod mom, so the questions all day are relentless.
But if there are sensitive questions, I’d rather that I answer them myself. If I don’t know the answer, I search them up online. It is during these times that I impart so much to them, just by answering questions.
- Related: Life Lessons for Girls
Teach table manners
Obviously, children are not born with table manners. We need to teach them so that these become a habit. When we go out to eat in restaurants, they will bring those dining habits with them.
- Related: Basic Restaurant Manners for Kids
The best time to teach them, of course, is during meal times.
You can see how they are while dining, so you can guide or correct them on proper manners. That is our responsibility as parents.
Encourage them to eat healthy
We can easily guide our children to eat healthy by showing a good example. It is during family meal times that we can show the kids that we also eat our vegetables.
We get to pray together
Sometimes, we just say a harried pray because we are hungry. But most of the time, we do sit down for heartfelt prayer. By doing so, we are inculcating an attitude of gratitude to the children.
Plus, we would most likely see them develop that habit of thanksgiving and praying for others, too.
What We Should Not Do During Family Meals
So while I would encourage you to share family meals as often as you can, there are also things that we should not do while eating together.
Engage in gadgets
Family meal times are integral to connecting with family members. We, parents, should not handle gadgets during meal times, including the TV.
At the same time, kids’ gadgets are also not allowed on the dinner table.
Sometimes, we learn something that will make us mad. Deal with these issues at a separate time. Eat and converse during family mealtimes and avoid getting mad. Everybody will easily lose their appetite when the mom is mad.
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Moreover, avoid issuing threats during the meal. It will dampen everyone’s appetite.
When Common Time is a Problem
Now, what if finding a common time is a problem for your family? Here are some suggestions.
Our situations now have become very busy. Parents work while kids go to school. Mornings are usually harried just to keep everyone on time. Meanwhile, lunches can be hard to tackle because breaks are short.
So most of the time, it is already in the evening when everyone is almost always available.
Try to keep your dinnertimes in sync. For parents, really try to eat dinner at home. Your kids won’t be kids for long. When they become teens, it would be harder to keep them all together on the dinner table.
There are just times when it is hard to prepare food at home. This is especially true when parents are working and there’s no helper at home.
The easiest way to go about this is to eat out. Or buy food for take out.
It doesn’t have to be expensive. You can always find food that everyone likes. In our city, there are so many Bacolod restaurants you can choose from that are affordable and family-friendly.
During weekends, make family meal times more special. Cook special dishes at home that your husband and kids can to add to their happy memory bank.
Many years later, memories of your happy weekend family meal times will resonate. That will be part of their happy place. Here are some of my special homecooking recipes that you might like:
- Creamy Baked Scallops with Sliced Potato Recipe
- Easy Boneless Lechon Belly Recipe
- Balut Recipes for the Craving Mama
- Osso Buco Recipe
I may not know your family setup, your problems, or financial situation. All I know is that, we all need to eat.
If we want to get to know our kids, the best thing is to do is to spend time with them. And relaxed, happy, and comfortable family mealtimes can be the key.
Some of my ideas may not work with you, but I’m sure, with some study, you will find what will work for your family. Meal times should be part of happy family traditions. God bless you!
Do share some of your insights on family mealtimes by commenting below.