Emotional connection is essential to developing healthy relationships. Research shows that children learn the value of emotional intimacy primarily within the structure of the family unit. When families prioritize regular opportunities for connection, specifically through shared meal times, children build healthier lives and stronger bonds. A strong emotional connection with family is shown to decrease anxiety and depression in children and foster a better sense of self-esteem, empathy, and trust.
One of the best places emotional connection can be built and nurtured is around family meal times. When families eat together around a table, children learn important narrative skills that help them understand the world around them. They learn about context, culture, problem solving, and identity. When a narrative is shared, it helps a person to understand individual perspectives and acquire empathy. Children learn to navigate life and develop discernment through listening to the stories of other people’s lives.
The family is the greatest source of influence in a person’s life and traditions within families define what the family values. The tradition of a family meal time helps kids to transition and move through different stages of their lives with greater confidence and ease. Children comprehend that challenges are a part of life when parents are able to normalize their own struggles. Emotional connection is fostered when children can begin to identify with their parents’ lives, which increases their self-esteem and ability to face challenges.
As families get back to normal routines and activities, let’s make meal times together an important priority. Let’s make 2023 the year we unplug more and tune in better to those around us. Let’s make family meals a time where we create shared meaning, where we focus on learning about and understanding one another’s lives. Let’s keep the family table a sacred and safe space removed from the rest of the world and removed from the distractions of electronics where praise and encouragement are dished out and appreciation is served up.
KS Services, LLC invites you in the New Year to join us in prioritizing connection with your families, in order to build healthier and more emotionally connected children. We invite you to come back to the family table. We are here to support you and help guide your family in creating and nurturing stronger bonds. Reach out to us today!
Licensed Resident in Counseling