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How to make family meal time count

Could having dinner together as a family really counteract behavioral problems in young adults? Many experts believe it can. The positive impact of eating dinner as a family is worth exploring in your own family. Here are some ideas how to do it.
Hope After Divorce, FamilyShare, Tammy Greene, FamilyShare Modified: June 23, 2014 at 10:39 pm •  Published: June 27, 2014

I recently heard someone say, "The family that dines together, stays together." I definitely believe there to be some truth to that statement. But, taking time to dine together regularly certainly is easier said than done. With the chaos of today's family life, sitting down together for a meal has become increasingly challenging.

Though I think that regular family meals are incredibly important, I am also in the belief that quality trumps quantity. Regular family meals are important to me, however I have realized that sometimes it is impossible. Between karate and dance classes, our evenings are packed.

But, instead of focusing on how guilty I feel about our lack of regular family meals, I have come to the realization that it is important to cut myself a break. I can't make family meals work every night, but I can make sure that the meals that we do have together count. Here are the things that I have found help my family make sure our face-to-face time at the table consists of quality family moments.

Schedule it

If you are finding it increasingly difficult to get everyone around the table at once, I recommend scheduling family dinners. Put them on the calendar. Maybe every Friday night is the night that you all sit together. Or maybe it is Saturday morning breakfast. It is easier to stick to things if they are on the calendar and it helps everyone get on the same page. Family members can plan their week accordingly, knowing that the family meals are set in stone.

Keep it Simple

At family mealtimes, make the meal low key. Choose to have something that everyone likes. One of my favorite things to do on family dinner night is to have us all make our own pizzas. I buy the premade crust with everyone's favorite toppings, and we make a pizza exactly to our own liking. Everyone is happy, and preparing dinner only amounts to the time it takes for the cheese to melt in the oven. It is easier to take the time to relax together when everyone is eating something they like and you are not exhausted from having cooked a big meal. Keep it simple.

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