Today’s manic lifestyles and the explosion in social media and technology, has brought huge pressure on our ability to eat together as families. However, less than a third of British families sit down together for their evening meal. So what are families missing out on?
If your family is in need of some much-needed quality time out, our Tunbridge Wells restaurant at Salomons Estate is the perfect place to reconnect.
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why we need to get our families to take a moment, turn off the tech and enjoy eating together – whether in a restaurant or at home.
Dining together encourages togetherness
From choosing ingredients and preparing the meal to setting the table and calling everyone to dinner, there are many different jobs you and your children can do together. By having regular time together with their family, children will feel a greater sense of belonging and feel safe, loved, and secure. Family mealtime is also the perfect way to instil family values and traditions that they’ll maintain throughout their lives.
It makes children happier
Eating makes your body release the so-called ‘cuddle chemical’ oxytocin. This helps human happiness and bonding. Regularly eating together will therefore make your children happier with their present life and more positive about their future. As children get older, self esteem and challenging behaviour can become difficult to manage. Encouraging happy times together and making them feel accepted can lessen these problems.
You’re more likely to enjoy your food
Researchers at the University of Lincoln have shown that whereas 67% of those who ate together scored highly for happiness, only 58% of those who ate apart were similarly happy. Couples who eat together are also 19% more likely to enjoy their food, while couples who use their phone during meal times are 8% less likely to enjoy their meal. So ditch the tech and concentrate on your dining partner instead!
Children will get a boost at school
Eating with adults is a great way for children to be exposed to new words and ideas that’ll help their language development and achievement in school. And with children having a safe place to express their opinions, they’ll grow in confidence when it comes to class discussions. Knowing what children are working on at school will also help you keep aware of deadlines or tests and if there’s anything you can help with.
You’ll enjoy better nutrition
Family mealtime promotes the eating of fruit, vegetables and other healthy choices rather than unhealthier snack food. Eating at structured times also leads to better relationships with food in later life. And if you can get your children to cook with you then the experience of planning and preparation (and cleaning up) will instil excellent life habits.
The NHS advises families to get into the habit of having two different vegetables on the dinner table. Don’t force the children to eat them, but if they’re readily available, the children will end up trying them. Remember you can always ‘hide’ vegetables in dishes such as stews and casseroles – they all count!
If you’re eating out together at our Tunbridge Wells restaurant then be assured we use only the finest and freshest seasonal ingredients. From a traditional Sunday lunch or pub classic to something a little more exotic, we have something to suit your tastes.
You might prevent weight problems
Eating ready meals on your lap in front of the TV is a sure-fire route towards weight problems for children and adults alike. Regular family meals will help reduce snacking and ensure that parents have a better idea of what their children are eating and how much. Family meals will make for healthier choices and better habits – both to help those eating too much and too little.
It saves you time and money
Not only will you save money by making a large family sized meal rather than several individual meals, but you’ll also increase the amount of time you spend together. A win-win situation if ever there was one.
It’s great fun!
Even the grumpiest of teenagers admits they enjoy eating with their family. Whether eating at our Tunbridge Wells restaurant or at home, great memories are made around the dinner table. If you really want to savour these times then make them fun with our helpful suggestions.
Top tips for great family meals
- Ask questions – If questions are too broad you’ll get a vague answer and if the question is too closed you’ll get just one word back. So try to ask open ended but specific questions to get the conversation flowing.
- Share a story – children love hearing stories so one of the best ways to have a discussion and build bonds is to share a funny memory, even if it was from before they were born. If you all remember the story then go over it again – you’ll all remember something differently and enjoy piecing it together.
- Go gadget free – There’s little point in all coming together if you’re then all glued to your smartphones and tablets. Being present for each other is very powerful and sends the message that mealtime is important and you’re not only sharing food but thoughts and feelings, too.
- Be positive – being a parent can be tough and sometimes a family meal can seem like the perfect opportunity for a lecture. Resist the impulse. Both children and adults need to feel like mealtimes are a time for togetherness and relaxation; treating them as a time for discipline will undermine this.
Family meals at home are great but our Tunbridge Wells restaurant offers many of the same benefits, but without all the cooking and cleaning up afterwards!
Set in the glorious Kent countryside, Salomons Estate offers a relaxed and friendly dining experience and is the perfect place for a family day out. Enjoy a walk in our extensive grounds or explore the Salomons Estate museum and then dine with us.
Whether in our spacious dining rooms, our stunning conservatory or our cosy lounge we have just the spot for you and your family.
Call our team to book your next meal time together.