For centuries, the drawings and photos of happy American families dining together have inspired and accentuated the American Dream. The world is changing, and family dining has gone along for the ride. The typical family no longer comes together to enjoy a meal at a dining table. Everyone is simply too busy. Most adults have full or part time jobs and single parents have even less time between taking care of children and working. Children nowadays can be even busier than their parents! With multiple friends, sports, activities, assignments, and hobbies, many children are constantly on the run doing something or another. To some families, this doesn’t seem like a problem.
However, there are proven benefits for family dining. Children learn healthy eating habits from their parents at dinner, such as portion control and variety. Obesity is a serious issue for children, and family dining may make a difference by teaching children what to eat and how much of it. Children can also learn conversation and socialization skills during dinner through conversing with their parents and siblings. Manners, such as posture and politeness, may be taught by adults as well. Lastly, family dining offers a wonderful chance for families to bond. A large number of families barely see each other during the day, so a few minutes around a table with time to talk can make a huge difference in relationships. Everyone can benefit from dining with their families.
Not all family dining needs to take place at home. Many families have success going to restaurants. To make family dining easier and cheaper, restaurants are beginning to offer meal deals and a fun environment for kids. There are deals at restaurants for children to eat free, saving the adult’s precious money, and others where two or three course meals are offered at a low price. If adults look at ads, coupons, and commercials, they will quickly find a cheaper dining experience. Also, environments are beginning to change to suit the needs of families with children. Many restaurants offer some sort of playground, either indoors or outdoors, that is in complete view of the adults and is supervised. Children are excited to go when a place to play is waiting for them! Even more supply coloring books and crayons to keep families busy. Additionally, there are great kids’ menus at a variety of restaurants so every member of the family can get what they want. Even waitresses and chefs are more kid-friendly and may entertain children!