Family mealtime is an opportunity to encourage conversation with the family. Engaging during meal time is an important component of family mealtime.
Research has found significant associations between positive family and parent interpersonal dynamics at family meals and reduced risk for childhood overweight (1). What does a positive family and parent interpersonal dynamic at family mealtime look like? This simply means that there was warmth, group enjoyment, and parental positive reinforcement. Additionally, research has shown significant associations between positive family and parent food-related dynamics (1) i.e. the family had a healthier relationship with food that ultimately reduced the risk of childhood obesity.
The first step to creating this supportive and encouraging environment that will have health benefits for your child is to gather at the table during meals and have a conversation. We know conversations with kids isn’t always the easiest thing, so begin a conversation with them on their level and where they are at emotionally and intellectually that day. Whether you talk about the meal you prepared, about the school day, other activities or even something totally random, family mealtime is a time you have without distractions.
Some ways to encourage your children to learn about food is by started the conversation with something fun and imaginable! A simple prompt like “if you were a season, which season would you be?” is an opportunity that could lead into talking about the current season and discuss what types of foods you are serving that might be from their favorite season or the current one. By engaging your children in discussion about the foods they eat, the can become interested in learning about more foods. Possibly opening the door to trying new foods!
No matter what you talk about with your family at dinner tonight be sure to make it fun and encourage them to ask questions!
If you are looking for more ways to offer your children new foods, check out our post on how to offer new foods!
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