Families Who Eat Together ~ Stay Together
Studies have shown that families that share dinners together tend to have closer relationships, more open communication, and children that are more successful academically. How can nannies help families have family dinners together?
1. Nannies can speak with family members, coordinate schedules, and set dates for family dinners (which, ideally, should occur at least once weekly).
2. Nannies can prepare the meals so the families need only come to the table and enjoy their time together. Additionally, nannies can involve family members in meal planning: for example, a nanny can have a rotation schedule in which each family member takes a turn and gets to decide what dishes are served for the family meal. Nannies should ensure that a healthy meal with foods from all five food groups are represented in whatever meal is chosen by the designated family member. To accomplish this objective, a nanny can visit with the designated family member in advance of the family meal to discuss meal planning. Nannies can even let the designated family member select the environment in which the family dinner will occur. One child may like picnics in the park. Mom may prefer candlelit dinners in the dining room with soft, relaxing music playing in the background. Dad may prefer a grill-out on the patio.
3. In advance of family dinners, nannies can (and should) coach children on manners for each dining environment. With coaching on a variety of different dining environments, children can become socially adept and adaptable.
4. In advance of family dinners, nannies can provide the family members with talking points to be used during the family dinner. For example, a nanny can prompt the mother to ask the eldest child about his/her recent test scores (because the nanny knows that the child just took a test and got an “A”). Then, when the mother asks the child about his/her tests scores during the family dinner, a bonding opportunity can be created.
5. Nannies can clean up after meals so that families can continue their bonding time after the meal has ended. Alternatively, nannies can involve the children in post-dinner clean-up while the parents are allowed time to be just the two of them.
6. Nannies can then follow-up with family members to determine the success of the family dinner. What went well? What can be changed so that subsequent family dinners can be more conducive to open communication and bonding?
By following these simple steps, nannies can help families create those special, bonding moments that come with sharing a family meal together.