Using Family Dinners to Build Healthy Mentalities
One of my most cherished memories is making homemade pasta with my mother in her Bosch mixer (which is now MY mixer). We would set up shop in the kitchen. My mother, my siblings and I would prepare an enormous meal for our extended family every other Sunday, complete with the pasta, fresh bread and salad. Everyone would always exclaim how delicious the food was, but it was not the meal itself that sticks out in my mind. It’s those hours spent in the kitchen with the boiling pots and chopping knives.
Studies have shown again and again that eating together as a family is a healthy and positive experience. But there have been other implications found in different surveys, which include the concept that even strangers eating the same meal together are more likely to build a sense of trust in one another.
A Healthy Mentality
How would you define a healthy mentality? It can start with being psychologically well adjusted, which is something that you aren’t born into. Family experiences and how a child is raised will play a big part in the way their brain functions and how they act throughout their life.
Everyone will have an opinion on the best way to raise a child to have the traits of a healthy adult. But we can all agree that it isn’t necessarily the big decisions that make this happen. Rather, it is the small, daily activities and experiences that help form who we are as people.
A family dinner can help with this in many little ways:
- It helps to develop healthy eating habits.
- It gives everyone a chance to check in with one another and discover any potential problems in a safe space.
- It strengthens the bonds of a family.
- It gives a social structure for healthy discussion and emotional connection.
- It teaches good manners that will help a child moving forward in life.
- It helps to structure and end the day in a consistent routine, which is beneficial for children.
What if Dinner Time Doesn’t Work for My Family?
This is a common question for busy families who don’t always have a “normal” schedule they can follow. Let’s say you or your partner works nights, or your children have an activity in the evening that only allows you to grab a quick bite.
Don’t fret, this can be done with any meal! Do you have some time in the morning before everyone goes about their day? Try waking everyone up a little earlier for a family breakfast. It has the same effect and can work more easily for families who have busy nights ahead of them.
- 5 Common Traits of Psychologically Healthy People. (2017, July 11), from https://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2017/04/07/5-common-traits-of-psychologically-healthy-people/
- Do Family Meals Really Make a Difference? By Eliza Cook … (n.d.). https://www.human.cornell.edu/pam/outreach/upload/Family-Mealtimes-2.pdf
- How to Raise Emotionally Healthy Children. (2016, July 17), from https://psychcentral.com/lib/how-to-raise-emotionally-healthy-children/
- Bosche Mixers (n.d) – https://boschmixers.com/recipe/perfect-pasta/
- Vedantam, S. (2017, February 02). Why Eating The Same Food Increases People’s Trust And Cooperation. http://www.npr.org/2017/02/02/512998465/why-eating-the-same-food-increases-peoples-trust-and-cooperation
Jacobson, T. (2018). Using Family Dinners to Build Healthy Mentalities. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 5, 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/blog/using-family-dinners-to-build-healthy-mentalities/