As the days and weeks fill up with soccer practice, swim lessons, library visits and more it has become increasingly difficult for families to find the time to sit around a table and eat dinner together. Eating on the go has become a norm in our society and while that practice is necessary on occasion, when it becomes the daily routine children may be missing out on some important opportunities to develop a variety of skills.
- “Social/Emotional Development: Children learn how to be responsible for themselves as well as others by following rules and routines such as passing food items. They are also developing independence and self-direction.
- Physical Development: Fine motor skills are developed as they use utensils to serve and eat. Their eye-hand coordination benefits from these simple tasks as they learn to control the small muscles in their hands.
- Language Development: Language and literacy skills are developed as they engage in conversations with adults and other children. Adults can use this time to talk with children about activities and important events going on in their lives, about the healthy foods being introduced, and classroom happenings or plans.
- Cognitive Development: Children’s problem-solving, reasoning, decision-making and understanding are developed by learning amounts, sizes, textures, numbers, counting, position of food items and tableware.”
When you stop to consider how children benefit from eating a meal together as a family it becomes easier to prioritize during the week. Take some time this week to eat dinner together as a family, you won’t regret it!