Sitting at the table is not just sitting down to eat. It is a meeting place where we all get on the same level, parents and children, transforming the table into the ideal setting for family gatherings. Before arriving at the table we must also generate, and when the time of the parents allows it, the habit of preparing the food that we will bring to the table.
This detail is not minor given that it gives us time with our sons and daughters, thus generating a bond that is staged at the table, in addition to promoting collaboration and teamwork among its members. Following the order of the ingredients, distributing tasks to each other, and deciding what to eat together is a process that incorporates habits in children.
To the above, we must highlight the role of the family also in healthy lifestyle habits for the little ones. So much so that the child who lives in a family that eats healthy will eat healthy, since these habits are based on what is practiced in childhood and on the example of parents. Let us then think of the value of being able to eat vegetables, fruits, legumes, and drink water within a context where each and every one of the members of the family group sits at the table. It happens that it is useless to insist that our children eat healthy and wholesome if none of the above is put into practice by adults, and the table is the place where we can generate good eating habits.
Now then, it is important to know that mealtime can also be turned into an entertaining meeting for the little ones, and we can also generate collaboration on their part, as well as having tasks at the time of setting the table before each meal, something habitual and routine that we teach the little ones, such as the order and acceptance of rules that are given around the family table, and that they begin to incorporate.
It is important then that children understand that lunch or dinner is a time when we all collaborate. From preparing food together, getting involved putting the tablecloth, plates, cutlery, and glasses, because although they are small actions that can be done at home, they also generate in them small responsibilities that they can assume depending on their age and that will help them to gain autonomy, as well as feel a useful part of the team that is the family
All this generates habits and routines that establish order in the children, who also begin to discover that they can collaborate at home, generating their own interest.
Another important detail that occurs around the family table is that we can turn this meeting into an entertaining moment with food, which also helps children to establish a positive relationship with food and understand that eating together is fun. , we can laugh, and also talk, something that we adults do less and less with our children. Parents don’t talk to their children on a daily basis, and this is terrible! We must dialogue and avoid challenges, because if this happens the table will become something tedious for the children, not only to listen to their parents, but also to talk to them. This, which is recurrent, in many cases causes children at home to decide to eat alone in their room before having to listen to challenges from their parents at mealtime.
To know then, that our children eat alone in the room means that in many cases we do not have control of what they eat, of talking to them and knowing how their day was, much less being able to find out what happens to them. Hence also the importance of eating with our children at the table.
To conclude, when sitting down at the table, parents have a very important responsibility in generating healthy eating habits, in talking with their children, and mainly in making the table a place for family gatherings.
Specialist in childhood obesity.