Family Breakfast – why it is important in our home.
“I just love family breakfast! It’s my favorite time.”
-My four year old daughter
Given my husband’s hectic work schedule, and the fact that our kids are famished at the very early hour of 5pm each day, family dinner doesn’t happen much around here. I make an effort to sit with them and eat something healthy with them during both lunch and dinner, but my internal clock tells me to eat just a little bit later!
That’s where family breakfast comes in. My husband keeps very late hours in the studio, so he doesn’t always make it downstairs for family breakfast, but I have to give him credit for making it more often than not. Even if his eyes are barely open and his sentences incoherent for the first few minutes.
He enjoys family breakfast just as much as the kids.
He misses them all day. He rarely makes it home for bedtime; we usually rely on Sunday nights for special Daddy baths. Family breakfast is an opportunity for him to ask the kids about their day. Our daughter fills him in on the latest happenings at preschool while our son races around the kitchen/family room showing him how fast he can go and what new words he learned to “Route 66”. It’s mayhem on a good day, but it gives us all a time to sit (well, three of us anyway) and be together.
Our daughter, who used to survive on bagels, is into more elaborate meals these days. It actually adds to the fun of the family meal, as one of us helps her make scrambled eggs, French toast, pancakes, “fluffy” waffles, or whatever else she craves on any given morning. At age 4, the girl loves to cook!
She cooks with me a lot. We bake our days away when my son is napping. When Daddy is downstairs in time to make breakfast, she lights up like a Christmas tree. She loves to remind him of all of the necessary steps to make any given meal, and she fancies herself an expert mixer.
At some point during the cooking process, our son usually jumps in and joins the fun (although his cooking skills are a little less honed!). I love to sit back and watch the three of them cook together. While the inner control freak in me sometimes wants to intervene and speed up the process, the mom in me is able to sit back and enjoy the moment.
The fun continues when the meal finally makes it to the table. The kids talk fast and loud as they try to catch Daddy up on everything they think he missed during the previous day, week, or month. We discuss school, the park, cars, princesses, and all other pertinent topics.
I know there is a lot to be said for regular family dinners. Kids learn how to eat healthy foods, hold a conversation, and be a part of the family. For me, family breakfast provides the same rewards, with the added benefit that the kids are bright eyed and fresh. By dinnertime, they are often tired and dragging a bit. First thing in the morning they are fresh faced and ready to chat!
We’re sticking with family breakfast for now because it works for us and provides some much needed family time around the table. As the kids grow and schedules change, I’m sure we will shift our focus. But right now, I cherish these small moments as a family.
When do you do your family meals?
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Katie is a Child & Adolescent Psychotherapist/Parenting Consultant in Los Angeles, CA. She has a four year old daughter, two year old son, and a rock and roll husband who makes her life complete.
Katie has a parenting advice blog at http://practicalkatie.com/ and can also be found on Twitter.