Five Lasting Benefits Of Family Mealtimes: Make Quality Time Count

“All great change in America begins at the dinner table.
So tomorrow night in the kitchen, I hope the talking begins.”- Ronald Reagan

When you start a family, you begin a journey of creating memories. For meaningful mementos that you can reminisce on for years, you usually go out of the way to celebrate special occasions. The effort you give to make big events memorable sets a positive example because it is a subtle way of showing your kids how well you value your family.

However, parents should realize that the part and parcel that form their everyday life will have greater impact on their children. If done right, the simple act of eating a meal together can create lasting benefits for the whole family.

Deeper relationships.

The world will definitely be a lonely place without relationships. Everyone will agree that having a strong support network is one thing that helps all of us get by through life’s ups and downs. Since family members are usually the persons closest to you, building relationships should start at home. Gathering together during mealtimes allows family to communicate and connect with each other. In the long run, the interactions that take place at the family table will strengthen relationships.

Well-adjusted kids.

As children grow, they become susceptible to bad influences which can lead to behavioral problems. Fortunately, regular family mealtimes can help parents shield their kids from all these possible scenarios. A 2014 research study published by the National Council on Family Relations, a non-profit organization, showed a positive correlation between family dinners and well-adjusted kids.

Smarter children.

If you want your kids to do better in school, you have another good reason to insist on making mealtimes a family activity. It may seem unlikely, but you can use mealtimes as a chance for learning. Aside from demonstrating proper eating manners, you can briefly discuss topics while at the dining table. The exchange of ideas that happen during meal times will open the minds of children to various points of view. These conversations encourage kids to speak their minds, and in the process, sharpen communication skills.

Better health.

Home cooked dishes are generally healthier than fast food and takeout meals. Eating together at home is therefore one way to ensure good health of the whole family. It is also a way to monitor the food intake of everyone. This claim is even backed by research as a paper published by the American Academy of Pediatrics concludes that families who dine together at least three times a week reduces the risk of obesity and eating disorders.

Happier household.

It will be hard to foster a loving environment if you do not make bonding times a daily priority. Finding time to be together can be tough because everyone can get so busy. The good news is that mealtimes are one of the easiest ways to catch up with each other. Furthermore, a study by Brigham Young University researchers found out that family mealtimes allow working mothers to de-stress after a tiring day in the office.

So if your goal is to leave wonderful memories and impart great values, give prime importance to ordinary moments as well. Who knows? The fondest memories of your children can even be during family meal times.

Dean and Marcie WhalenFive Lasting Benefits Of Family Mealtimes: Make Quality Time Count
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3 Things That Make a Happy Home

Your household should be a safe space for your entire family to come home to after a long day, after a fun trip or just after running some errands. One of the most effective ways to turn your home into a welcoming, warm space for everyone is to make an honest effort to fill it with happiness and love. A happier home makes a happier family. However, we all know sometimes that’s easier said than done, so we came up with three things that have helped us make our home a happier place. Here are three ways to make a happy home.

Make coming home an event

We fall into the routine of life all too easily, and by doing so, ordinary events just become a part of our schedule. However, if you make an effort to make simple things that happen every day a special event, your family will start recognizing the happiness that lies in the small moments. For instance, start welcoming your family members home with a joyous greeting and a hug. Let everyone know how glad you are to have them home even if your spouse was just running errands for the afternoon. By doing so, your family members will feel more appreciated, and your house will always be an optimistic place to come home too. Remember to embrace the small moments because that’s where life lives.

Turn meals into a family affair

There are all kinds of studies that prove families who sit down to eat dinner together as often as possible form better relationships, adopt healthier lifestyles, and experience more happiness. Sharing meals together gives you a chance every evening to connect and make memories with your family. Sit-down dinners with the whole family allow the perfect opportunity to build your relationships and strengthen your family bond. These conversations over the dinner table foster a space to share excitement, challenges, and laughs. From the planning stages to the cleanup, make sure your meals are a family affair as often as possible to increase the happiness in your home.

Use positive words

Never underestimate the power of words. Using positive words of encouragement and love on a daily basis will directly impact the positive energy in your home. Leave positive notes for your family members around the house and focus on positivity when you speak to each other. Never let a family member leave your home without a positive reminder so they go about their day with an optimistic mindset. If you focus on the positive and avoid dwelling on the negative, your home will be a happier place.

A happy home is the key to a happy family. Try these three tips to make your home the happiest it can be.

Dean and Marcie Whalen3 Things That Make a Happy Home
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3 Ways To Teach Children About Philanthropy

Teaching your children about philanthropy is one of the best ways to establish a serving heart at a young age. But sometimes it can be hard to get them involved when they don’t fully understand the impact they are making. It can be hard for young minds to completely comprehend the purpose and reality of philanthropies and those who are on the receiving end of them. However, read these 3 ways to teach children about philanthropy and make sure they get the most out of their philanthropic efforts – even if it takes a little more explaining on your part.

Discover these 3 Ways To Teach Children About Philanthropy Early On

Encourage them to raise their own money for a charity

Remember the days when a twenty-dollar bill could buy you all you ever wanted in the world? A new toy or your favorite candy bar could turn any day around. This mentality still exists in young minds, and is still perhaps the reason for lemonade stands on summer days. However, the next time your children want to host a lemonade stand, or a car wash, or whatever it is your young entrepreneurs have their minds made up on, suggest making a donation with some of the money. As you encourage your children to start raising money for themselves, encourage them to donate a percentage of it, no matter how small, to a charity of their choice. In doing so, you will first empower them to pick a charity that interests them establishing a passion for a certain cause. And second, you will help foster a spirit of giving that they will keep with them for the rest of their lives.

Volunteer at a nursing home

Volunteering at neighborhood nursing home is a great service to introduce your children to philanthropy. At its heart, philanthropy is the act of serving others and that is exactly what your family will be doing when you volunteer to spend an hour or two at a nursing home. Consider visiting regularly, even if it’s only once a month, to make sure your children get the most out of the experience. By making routine visits, your children will get the chance to build relationships and the difference they are making will have more of an impact that will inspire them to continue to serving others when they’re older.

Take them to donate to a food bank

Next time you’re grocery shopping with your children tell them to pick out some canned goods or other nonperishable items and drop them off at the closest food bank on the way home. In doing so, you will introduce the idea that serving others does not have to be something remarkable in order for it to make a difference. Instead, it will teach them the fact that serving others can and should be an everyday activity.

Dean and Marcie Whalen3 Ways To Teach Children About Philanthropy
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How to Survive Grocery Shopping with a Toddler

Grocery shopping with a toddler: add it to the top of the list of things no one loves to do. Between the screaming, the grabbing, the running away, and the sneaking of miscellaneous items into the cart, there’s a whole host of nightmare scenarios that just come with the territory of bringing a toddler to the grocery store with you. If you’re a parent, you’ve more than likely been there, and you’re nodding your head right now. If you’re even thinking of having kids, you’ll someday know this pain (and encounter it weekly).

For all of you struggling parents out there, there are three tips that will help anyone survive grocery shopping with even the most stubborn of toddlers.

Let Your Toddler Help with the List

There’s nothing more frustrating for a curious toddler than not knowing what’s going on and not being a part of the action.

Get your little one involved in the choices that you make at the store by holding up prospective items and letting them pick which one they’d prefer. Hold up an apple in one hand and a pear in another; whichever your toddler lunges for, add a few of them to the cart. That way, your child feels a sense of agency, instead of helplessness, when you’re grocery shopping together.

Keep Your Toddler Comfy While Shopping

When it’s cold outside, and you enter a heated store, the first thing you do is peel off your coat and strip off your hat and gloves. Your toddler doesn’t quite have the sense to do that just yet, so you’ll have to be their climate control.

If the store’s usually on the cold side (as many grocery stores are), make sure you bring an extra sweater or jacket to keep your toddler nice and comfy while you shop.

Make Sure Your Toddler isn’t Hangry

You wouldn’t dare go grocery shopping when you’re hungry—or if you do, you immediately regret it when the bill is tallied up. So, why would you bring your toddler to the store with an empty tummy and hungry eyes? It’s a recipe for disaster!

The next time you plan to head to the store with your toddler, make sure they’re not hangry (hungry to the point of anger) by giving them a small snack in preparation. Having something to nibble on while you’re perusing the vegetables will cut down on the screaming, crying, and it will definitely diminish the grabbing and putting random items in the cart. Thank goodness for animal crackers!

Dean and Marcie WhalenHow to Survive Grocery Shopping with a Toddler
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