Many studies have shown strong correlation between family meal times and positive development in children. In the Canadian research done by Elgar, Craig & Trites, 2013, “family dinners facilitate open communication in families and present opportunities for youths to discuss social and emotional issues and coping strategies”.
The purpose of Mealtime is Family Time is to increase time spent eating meals together as a family. Time spent with family members is on the decline. This disconnect can have significant impact on child development, attributing to mental health concerns, struggles with academic achievement, and can even lead to poor dietary choices leading to increased health care costs. Children who frequently eat with their family, express feelings of connectedness and develop caring relationships, which has been deemed one of the most influential protective factor in a young person’s environment (Benard, 2004).
By taking the Family Pledge to spend at least 45 minutes together at mealtimes without distractions, 3 days or more per week, families can make the commitment together to take back family time and the sense of connectedness that it brings. Mealtime is Family Time will provide a variety of suggestions, tools, activities and recipes to help families be successful in embracing the Family Pledge. While this initiative is designed around families with children between 5 and 12 years old, all families are encouraged to include the Mealtime is Family Time model in their day-to-day lives to build healthy family habits and
Step 1 – Meal Preparation: Prepare meals together with fun and easy recipes!
Step 2 – Family Activities: Family-friendly activities that everyone can enjoy, at the table or after the meal.
Step 3 – Family Time Tracker: We encourage you to have at least 3 meals together per week, for at least 45 minutes each meal.
Each of these steps has a dedicated page with great resources to help your home make Mealtime Family Time!