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For many, mealtimes provide much more than time to fuel our bodies with healthy fuel. More than that, mealtime can create a sacred space where families can spend time together and learn about each other’s lives. However, technology can cause distractions and turn attention away from loved ones. Tech-free mealtimes encourage a positive and conversant family environment.

Here are a few tips for fun, device-free family dinners:

 

Mother and son washing dishes and laughingStart with a plan.

Explain to your family why a tech-free mealtime is important to you. Then, as a family unit, decide the best way to handle technology at the dinner table. Maybe everyone has to leave their phones in a bowl before sitting down. Maybe make it a game: anyone who uses their phones has to clean the dishes.

 

Mother and daughter eating breakfast

Lead by example.

If you want your family to be tech-free during mealtimes, then you must also follow the rules! Your kiddos are always watching. Using your phones at the table tells them that it is acceptable to use theirs. If your children see you practicing tech-free mealtimes, they will be much more likely to respect that rule.

 

Turn off the T.V.

We know how easy it is to leave on the kids’ favorite movie or the big game during mealtimes. However, this impedes that essential connection families gain while talking during meal times. Not to mention that watching T.V. while eating has been proven to encourage overeating.

 

Two young people having fun talking while eatingMake dinner conversation fun.

Whether you draw topics out of a hat or just catch up naturally, mealtimes are a good opportunity to make sure your children know that they are being heard and cared about. This is also a good way for parents to connect with each other away from work emails and social media notifications.

 

Of course, it can be difficult to plan and prepare meals every night. Thankfully, Market Table can help. Our meal kits, prepared meals and proteins and sides make the perfect setting for a family meal. 

Making mealtimes a positive experience will encourage connection amongst your family. This will not be an overnight change — some patterns are hard to break. Encourage one another to see the importance of making mealtimes about family and not about technology. Your family will not only be happier and more involved in each other’s lives, but they will also feel affirmed of their place in your home. Start working on this and, before long, your kids will be asking to help you cook! One can dream, right?

 

Text by Amy Haupt