Make One Meal Time a FAMILY time!
I am an advocate for making one MEAL time a FAMILY time! It is a time for family to sit down together, enjoy each other's company and the PLEASURE of the food.
It is a time to relax, to share your experiences of the day, and to sample the dishes that are served in front of you that are made with love. Allow your family to explore and enjoy the aroma of the food, the good company surrounding them, and the conversations that will flow along the way.
The pleasure of enjoying food
This is an amazing article that I came across – http://thespoke.earlychildhoodaustralia.org.au/pleasure-is-good-how-french-children-acquire-a-taste-for-life/. It talks about "PLEASURE" and how to encourage children to enjoy and find pleasure in their food, i.e. the aroma of the food and to explore their own taste buds. This gives them the pleasure to experiment and try out new things that give them greater pleasure in life.
Being present and emotionally available
Eating together is about the mindfulness of being at the table together. It is about the food on the table, about the aroma and taste of the dishes, the texture, the flavour and most of all, the love of the family, the conversations, about sharing experiences, and about life lessons. Most of all, it is about the connectedness of the family, feeling of being heard, being together, listening and supporting each other. It is about feeling BELONGED and LOVED! Time to connect is invaluable.
Make dinner / one meal time a FAMILY time
Parents have the most influence on their children. When you make time to engage, communicate and connect with them, children can feel the connections with their parents. They feel the pleasure of a connected and happy family, and of having parents that care and value them unconditionally. Thus they do not need to find other pleasures in life such as alcohol, drugs or sex etc.
Research *resource: http://www.casacolumbia.org/addiction-research/reports/importance-of-family-dinners-2012 has found that children, especially teens who have more frequent (5-7 per week) dinners together with their family were more likely to have better relationships with their family and less likely to experiment drugs, alcohol or smoking, when compared to 2 or fewer times per week, even as little as 15-20 minutes of meal time together.
Invite your children to the kitchen
Nowadays, parents are busy; you just want to get the cooking over and done with. Yes, I get you; the last thing we need is to get your children involved in the kitchen, because not only do you need to supervise them, but you may need to clean up the mess they are make, right?
Your currency to connections with your children is the level of the relationship you have with them, and in order to build strong relationships with your children takes time, patience, daily interactions, being emotionally available and giving unconditional love.
So, how about extending the fun and pleasure to your children to join you in the kitchen? It is about creating the space to connect with your children, sharing and bonding with them over a shared experience i.e. preparing a dish together.
When your children are having fun, they will want to do it again and again… That's how they learn about themselves and the world around them, that's how they learn about relationships with themselves and relationships with people around them, especially you – i.e. you are FUN! And that's how they find pleasure to want to be in relationships with you, to be in your company!
A gentle reminder for this morning – bring mindfulness in your relationships and everything you do in life!