With my daughter’s busy schedule of school and ABA therapy*, it can be hard for us to eat meals together. I know it is important though, and my daughter enjoys dining with me. I decided to join the Take Back the Table pledge (#takebackthetable), and make sure she and I were eating more meals together.
*ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) a repetitive therapy used to help autistic people gain skills.
It is nice to turn off all the distractions, and simply enjoy our time together. My little girl is non-verbal. While there may not be deep conversations going on at our table, the shared moments are just as precious. She is one silly little character, especially when she has an audience.
Why Family Dinner is Important
Better Health – According to a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, kids are less likely to develop an eating disorder or become overweight when they enjoy regular family meals.
Better Grades – There is also a correlation between academic success and engaging in family dinners. A University of Illinois study showed kids who ate dinner with their families frequently performed better on standardized tests.
Better Behavior – The kids of families who regularly eat together are less likely to start smoking, take drugs or get into trouble (Purdue).
Those are all terrific reasons to Take Back the Table, but probably the most important of all is the extra fun and bonding that happens when you make this commitment.
Tips to Make Family Dinner a Success
Set the Table – Whether dinner is served on-plate, or family style, make sure the table is set before serving. It seems more special when a table is set, and there will be fewer interruptions, to get a missing condiment, etc.
Establish a Time – Try your best to make dinnertime consistent. Everyone should know when they are expected home and ready for dinner, and if they are running late to call.
No Distractions – It doesn’t take that long to eat a meal. Devices and other distractions should not come to the table with kids, and parents can take it as an opportunity to set an example as well. Show your children they are your top priority.
Make What They Like – It may seem obvious, but kids will certainly be more excited about family dinner when their favorite foods are served. If you have fussy eaters, make a few extra sides rather than a separate meal for them. This way they are fully joining the meal, just skipping or going light on the parts they don’t like. It is an excellent way to get the kids to eat more veggies too!
Bring a Friend – This not only makes your child happy to have their friend with them (and gives you a better insight into their friends), but may just plant a seed for that child’s family to start making family dinner more often too.
Theme Night – If there is a certain cuisine your whole family loves, make serving it a weekly tradition. Old standbys like Taco Tuesday or Pasta Wednesday are great, but it is even better when you make up your own and put a little twist on it each week.
Make It Dinner & a Movie Night – Speaking of themes, take it one step further. Once a week, pick out a movie to watch together, and tie in the dinner with it. (i.e., Spaghetti & Meatballs for Lady and the Tramp, or Chinese Food for The Christmas Story)
As you can see my daughter approves of family dinner.
Take Back the Table Pledge
Now it is time for your family to take the pledge, and as you know, as moms it will be our job to make sure it really happens. Take Back the Table is an initiative from Vanity Fair to help encourage families to embrace the importance of eating family dinners together.
Check out Vanity Fair’s Instagram , as well as their Facebook page for some great inspiration too.
I took the pledge to #takebackthetable to show how important it is to spend more time with family at meal time.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Vanity Fair® Napkins. The opinions and text are all mine.