Eating meals as a family is a great way to bond with your kids and partner, release the stress of the day, and focus on the moment. Many parents report that regularly sitting down for a family meal is a top priority. So, why are we doing it less than ever before?
Life moves much faster now than it did in the Leave It to Beaver era. In our always-connected and generally overworked society, it’s hard to find time for things like a family dinner.
Even when you manage to corral everyone to the dinner table, it’s rare to translate the moment to real quality time together. Today, the average family meal lasts between 15 and 20 minutes. And a lot goes into making that home-cooked meal — planning it, coordinating schedules, buying groceries, prepping the food, cooking the food, and cleaning up after. It’s no easy feat, and the result is just a few precious minutes of family time.
Is it really worth the effort?
We say yes, and we started Gobble to help parents reallocate prep time spent in the kitchen to precious time spent at the table.
Still not convinced? We aren’t the only ones who feel family time is worth every second. Researchers agree that this time together has a lasting positive impact on children.
The Journal of Adolescent Health explains that “more frequent family dinners are related to fewer emotional and behavioral problems, greater emotional well-being, more trusting and helpful behaviors towards others, and higher life satisfaction” (April 2012).
In other words, regularly sitting down to eat with your kids makes their lives better. What more could you ask of dinner, except that it also taste amazing? (Don’t worry, we have that covered!)
How kids benefit from family meals:
- Higher self-esteem
Eating dinner together means more time focused on children and supporting them as individuals. With the opportunity to talk more, this simple act acknowledges kids as an important part of the family dynamic. Feeling valued within the family helps establish a solid foundation for a child’s self-esteem.
- Better social skills
Eating dinner may seem simple on the surface, but it provides a great training ground for kids to learn important social skills. During the course of one meal, children will need to do things like share, listen, and respect other people’s personal space. And, as we all know, practice makes perfect!
- Better grades
Research shows that students who have family meals between five and seven times per week have higher grades than students who don’t. Why? More family time means parents are more likely to know when kids are struggling in school. It also means more accountability for things like homework and studying.
- Healthier food choices
Home-cooked meals are almost always healthier than what you’ll find in the frozen food aisle or at a restaurant, and this is great news for kids. Children who regularly eat meals at home with family are more likely to choose healthy foods like fruits and vegetables over fast food and soda.
Sharing meals as a family is an important part of giving your child the best chance at a healthy, happy life, but how do you make it happen? Researchers at North Carolina State University found that parents feel significant stress about providing home-cooked meals for their families.
We know it’s not a lack of desire that prevents parents from doing this. There are an ever-increasing number of obstacles that get in the way.
Gobble gets rid of several of those obstacles for you. The menu is planned, the groceries are provided, and the prep work is done. In just 15 minutes, you can have a healthy, delicious meal prepped by professional chefs – all you have to do is enjoy with your loved ones!
Though it may not be possible to sit down for a nice meal with your family every day, Gobble can help you make it happen more often (and with less stress!). Of course, more is better here, but even if you increase your number of weekly family meals by one, you’ll be setting your children up for a brighter future.