If Family Meals Don’t Work, Grab a Late Night Snack

Much has been written about the importance of family meals. There’s something about making time each day without getting distracted from chores, household chores, and Instagram notifications to chat with your clan over food. Children who grow up with ritual will be fundamentally different from those who do not – science confirms this . Still, it’s a perennial challenge to find time, especially when you have parents who work late or multiple kids with conflicting schedules. Real life is often less like a Norman Rockwell painting in honor of Thanksgiving, but more like a rest stop on the highway, where bodies are torn off at any time of the day.

When we think of family meals, we usually think of dinner. But sitting for an hour during this busy evening doesn’t make sense for everyone. If this doesn’t work in your home and is stressing you out, know that there are many good alternatives. Dr. Anne K. Fischel, a Harvard psychology professor and co-founder of the Family Dinner Project, writes that families who eat dinner together five times a week “benefit enormously,” but “there is no magic number, and neither is dinner. inherently preferable to other foods. “

One option I like is a late family snack. (The New York Times calls this table time .) I am not saying late or late, for example, at midnight, but, say, at 20:40. How it works: After everyone comes home from the office, school music rehearsal, or soccer practice, you all put on your pajamas and then sit down at the table with hot chocolate or fruit or bowls of cereal and milk. You can catch up at a leisurely pace without worrying about how many chunks of broccoli Zadi is eating, or how many math homework Ryder still has to do, or how many pots you need to load into the dishwasher. Now that everyone is pretty much busy during the day, you can use the time to relax and unplug (perhaps by placing your phones in the family dock). Who knows? Perhaps this will become the tradition that you are most looking forward to.


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