Dinner time is supposed to be family time! But with the busy lifestyle, where you are constantly putting in extra efforts to attain your professional goals, often keeps you from a fun filled dinner with the children. Most reputed Child Psychologists around the globe claim: family dinners are much more, for the children, than just time to eat their food with parents. It helps them in overcoming various ordeals in their life. Let us check out some recent findings that point towards the importance of family dinners.
- A report by Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine in 2004, found that children in the age group of 11-18 who dine with their parents show fewer signs of depression (which may include suicidal tendencies).
- The study further found that the same children get better grades in their exams.
- A Harvard Research findings from 1996 claim that family dinners help significantly in improving the vocabulary of kids.
- Another study by Columbia University in 2012 found that regular family dinners improve and maintain a healthy relationship between the parents and their children. Good relationship prevents the children from substance abuse and other such maladies.
So, as you can see regular family dinners are the best gift you can give to the kids. It will help you raise them just the way you want to. This means, however busy you remain sometime has to be kept aside every day for family dinners. As you would know, life is all but a management of different roles, and during this management you have to have give equal emphasis to family and professional life.
How to converse with the Children?
During the dinners, you need to keep all the tensions aside and truly enjoy the family-time! Lighthearted environment helps the kids open up their mind to the parents. Once your child opens up, it is time to remain silent and hear him out. Your children live in a world of their own, where logic might not always prevail. So, when they explain things do not frown or joke on their comments. Try to understand what they mean. If they are not meeting your expectations (from academics or activities point of view), this is not the time to show your frustration. Rather ask them to explain what problems they are facing and provide them viable solutions. Such open discussions help you learn about your children and support them. Children treasure their helpful and supportive parents, and this is the time to show them that! Apart from such basics, raising certain pertinent questions to the kids during the dinner time is a good way to unlock their mind and feelings. Some such dinner time questions which help you connect better with the children are mentioned below:
Question #1: What was your best and worst part of the day?
Make it a practice to start your conversation with this question. Apparently, this may seem a very simple question but wait till you hear the kid! He will have a long list of things to tell, and you would find answers to more than just one question during the explanation. You would know what problems he faced, how he managed to overcome those, what made him happy or frustrated, among other things.
Question #2: Is honesty the best policy?
You may ask this question on odd occasions and check the views of your kid. The kid has to choose a side here – whether to adhere to the remark or negate it. Many a times, the kid would try to explain the answer and during such an act you would know his mind. If the kid nourishes a wrong notion, this conversation would give you a scope to correct it.
Question #3: Which was the most interesting news, this week?
Children should always be inspired to follow the newspaper and nothing can be more inspiring than to throw this question at them from time to time. It would help you understand how keenly the child is following the newspaper. It also helps the child stay ahead of others in the class!
Question #4: What challenges did you come across this week? How did you overcome that?
One of the important aspects of raising a resilient kid is to nourish his problem solving capability. By asking this question you allow the kid to (most proudly) show how he was able to get out of a problematic scenario using his intelligence. Again, you should counsel the kid, if he solved the problem in a dishonest manner or hurt someone in the process.
Question #5: What would you like to do this weekend?
After a week at school, the weekends are much anticipated days for the kids. They would have their own plans, so encourage them to discuss these frankly with you. The discussion would also allow you to understand whether their plans concern a family outing. If the child wants to go out with you, try and manage some time to accommodate this.
Question #6: How did you help someone today?
You might get really funny replies that are way off the track. But asking this question from time to time would help you raise a kid who is helpful to others around. This will make your kid quite favorite among the social groups, apart from being a socially conscious citizen.
Question #7: What is your favorite and least favorite subject in school?
For children every subject comes with some hurdles. Some subjects pose stiffer challenges than the others, and it is essential for the parents to understand the minds of their kids. Special coaching on the subjects your child does not like could make a lot of difference.
Question #8: What would you like to become when you grow up?
Your children might have fantasy occupations in their mind. But while they explain the answer you will get a whole new insight into their likes and dislikes. It would also help you channelize his education towards things he likes. After all, success comes only when one can make his favorite past-time an occupation!
Family dinners encourage open hearted discussions between the kids and their parents. Utilize this time to raise your child in the best possible way.