If I were to ask you, “What would you pay for my Parent Coaching advice, that if you followed it and started this one habit would help your child become capable?” Your child would -
- Do better at school
- Thrive socially
- Grow physically, develop coordination and more likely to excel at sports
- Resistant using tobacco, drinking alcohol or drug abuse
- Feel more connected and capable
I often ask this at my seminars for parents. Recently I asked some teens. Here are some of their responses:
“Seriously?! All of those benefits from following one tip? I’d pay $500!”
“Wow! I’d pay $1000.00 to get better grades and be better at sports. Of course it would be my DAD’S money, not mine. But he’d be happy with the improvement.”
“That’s a deal! My parents pay for a tutor, and they are on my case about my grades, my choice of friends and they are worried that I’ll smoke pot. So what is it?”
I paused for drama, and to gain the attention of the entire class, “Family meals at least three to five times a week. With the TV and tech turned off. No texting. No calls. Just connecting. And your parents can’t be yelling at you about your chores or grades. Just conversation and food.”
“I’d like that,” confessed Adrian, “We never eat together.”
“Yeah, we used to do that,” said Luisa, but we are going in six directions now. I miss it.”
“My house is lonely at dinner time. Everyone eats at different times in different rooms. Never together,” said Tyler.
“Families that eat a meal together, feel more connected and capable. The meal doesn’t have to be dinner, it could be on weekends, like when you are at your dad’s house. If you can share your opinion and you are listened to you feel valued, and you gain confidence in your thinking which helps you with school. So here’s the challenge, go home and ask your parent, ‘Can we eat dinner together, I’ll help make it?’”
Over a million families did this last year for National Family Day – A Day To Eat Dinner With Your Children (TM). It’s this year in September 24, 1012. Check out the Family Dinner Kit with tips, ideas and conversations starters, free at: http://casafamilyday.org/familyday/tools-you-can-use/family-dinner-kit/
Family meals nourish more than the body. They help children feel closer to their family and more understood and valued. Without regular meals together, a child or teen is two times more likely to use tobacco; nearly two times more likely to use alcohol and one and a half times more likely to smoke marijuana. Having dinner together is one of the most strategic tools a parent can use for the health of her/his children.
There are a few ground rules: 1. Make it a conversation, not a lecture. 2. Don’t use it for discipline, like, “How come you are getting a C in math?” 3. No texting, TV, video games or phone calls during the meal. Focus on each other. 4. Enlist your children in preparing and cleaning up. 5. Take turns asking questions. Assign different days to family members to lead the conversation with their questions. 6. Don’t drag it out. A meal and conversation needs to be age-appropriate. Thirty minutes is usually enough time to eat, for each person to comment on their day, and to respond to the Question of The Day.
Don’t believe the common myth that My teen won’t want to talk with me. 75% of teens think family dinner is important and 68% of teens wished their family had more meals together. Make time in your schedule for a meal together. If you have to say no to a soccer practice to make time for dinner, it may pay off in the long run.
Try following these tips and let me know your story. I’ll choose one and send you a free copy of my book, 52 Family Time Ideas. email@example.comFor Healthy Families,
Timothy Smith – The Parents Coach