I just returned from helping to get my 3 year old son Lukas ready for sleep. My wife, Mrs. LIAYF, is now reading finishing up reading stories with him in bed. It is all a part of the evening routine around here, which includes cleaning up, brushing teeth, and going to the bathroom. I’m sure you all know the drill quite well. I bet we could all do it in our sleep. And probably have on occasion. However, there is one aspect of our evening which we particularly enjoy, and which I hope to extend out as long as possible.
Dining together as a family.
Each night we are all able to sit down together, without distraction – save for a bit of background music, and enjoy each other’s company. Often we are all tired after our respective long days, but the opportunity to sit, relax, and replenish ourselves with a home cooked meal is just the elixir we all need to ready ourselves for the final push to bedtime. Mrs. LIAYF and I make a point to have a balanced meal available most nights, which always includes a fresh fruit and green vegetable along with the main course. It doesn’t hurt that he is a terrific eater, who rarely turns anything away. Tonight, he finished a healthy serving of red and green kale, steamed with balsamic vinegar and loved it. He’s a good kid. I honestly don’t think that I ate a green vegetable myself until I was in my mid 20’s.
But that is not all we want to expose him to at a young age. We want him to know the value of family conversation, and detoxification from ever present glut of external stimulation that is present in today’s society.
Sure, he is still a bit too young to be affected by most of it. But I can imagine a time when Lukas, and perhaps another sibling, are older and inundated with external demands of thier time and attention. Just a quick search revealed that there are a lot of articles out there detailing the benefits that researchers have found about families dining together. These benefits include better grades at school, reduction in the rates of addiction and depression, and the opportunity to learn about a child’s day and experiences. Turning off media and focusing on family is generally a positive experience.
Our hope is that as Lukas (and our future children) grow older, having established this family tradition early on, we will still have this time each day together. It’s one of my favorite times of the day and I hope it becomes his as well.
What about you? How often do you eat together as a family?