Family mealtimes – do work commitments and activities get in the way…?

Do you sit down and eat a family dinner together every night?  Or do work commitments and children’s after school activities make it either impossible or very difficult to get the family together for meal times?

family meals

A new national survey has discovered that only 30% of UK families eat dinner together every night with more than half of the UK (51%) admitting they sit down every night to eat their dinner on their laps while watching TV or using a computer!

The research, by Harvester Restaurants, discovered that when we do manage to get together for an evening meal, the most popular subjects of discussion are family issues, friends, work and the news. Though so much of our dinner table chatter revolves around social networks that 44% of families have banned mobile phones and tablets at the dinner table because they were spending too much time scanning social networks instead of talking to each other…

So how important is it for you to try to have a family meal together?  I remember always having dinner together when I was a child and my husband finishes work early enough for us to eat together as a family pretty much every night.  However my children are still young and after school activities have not yet taken over our lives, I am sure this will change in the not-too-distant-future…

The good news is that when we do find time to sit down as a family, free from the distractions of mobile technology, we enjoy talking to each other. A healthy 60% of all family mealtime is taken up by family conversation, with two thirds believing it’s the perfect time to bond and catch up.

This Morning’s Parenting Author, Broadcaster and Parenting Coach, Sue Atkins said: “It is more important than ever for families to find time to eat together. Not only does it promote healthy eating, but has been proven to strengthen relationships and improves cognitive development in children. Families need to make a real effort to set a date and make an occasion out of meal times. This will increase the likelihood everyone eats together and you’ll spend more quality time together. In fact, 78% of British families say they tend to spend longer together when they are out for a meal than when they eat together at home.”

So if work commitments, swimming club, football practice or whatever evening activity take up yours and your families time, why not try to schedule at least one evening a week that is free and plan a family meal together – get the kids to help prepare their favourite dish, order a takeaway or head out for a bite to eat, whatever you choose take your time, put the mobiles away and enjoy eachothers company!



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