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Balancing Act

Balancing Act Archives
August, 2006: Family Snack Smarts
July, 2006: Cooperative Co-parenting
June, 2006: Street Proofing Teens 101
May, 2006: Harmony is in season: Harmony is in season: Warm Weather Activities To Bring The Family Together
April, 2006: Caregiving: Sensible Steps To Success
March, 2006: Healthy Eating In A Fast Food World
February, 2006: Stress Busters to Stay Lighthearted
January, 2006: Brain Gain in Life's Later Years
December, 2005: Holiday Budget Planning
November, 2005: Combating Childhood Obesity
October, 2005: Eating Away at Colds and Flu
September, 2005: Avoiding the Aches of Osteoarthritis
August, 2005: Growing Older, Eating Wiser
July, 2005: Nutrition Tips for the Healthiest Summer Ever
June, 2005: Long-Term Care Facilities/Nursing Homes - How Do I Choose the Right One?
May, 2005: Nutrition and Your Baby: Introducing solid food to the menu
April, 2005: When Baby Comes Home For The First Time
March, 2005: Stepping into the Role of Stepparent
February, 2005: Pumping Fitness into Your Day
* January, 2005: Remedies for Financial Holiday Hangovers
* December, 2004: Time Out: Making the most of the holidays
* November, 2004: An Ounce of Prevention: Type 2 Diabetes
* October, 2004: Dealing with Peer Pressure
* September, 2004: Long Distance Caregiving
* August, 2004: The ‘Be-tween’ Transition, 2004
* July, 2004: Easing into summer vacation
* June, 2004: A family-friendly balance for working fathers
* May, 2004: Communication Tips to Help Young Minds Grow
* April, 2004: Tips for Making the Tax Season Less Taxing
* March, 2004: The Dieting Merry-Go-Round
* February, 2004: Keeping Your Financial Future in Check
* January, 2004: Here Comes the Flu
* December, 2003: Communicating with your Teen
* November, 2003: Eating for Energy
* October, 2003: Work-life Balance: Making it Work for You
* September, 2003: The Homework Zone
* August, 2003: Health Hints to Ease Your Family in to the Fall Season
* July, 2003: Stay Alert and Stay Safe - Streetproofing your kids
* June, 2003: Summer Activities for Stay-at-Home Kids
* May, 2003: Helping Older Relatives Stay Active
* April, 2003: Spring-cleaning: For the home, the family, and you
* March, 2003: Choosing a Summer Camp
* February, 2003: Baby couch potatoes: Tearing your kids away from the TV
* January, 2003: Resolution Solutions
* December, 2002: Holiday Stress Blasters
* November, 2002: Beating the Winter Blues
* October, 2002: Making the most of family mealtimes
* September, 2002: Generation Relations
* August 2002: Vacation Relaxation
* July 2002: Swimming Safety
* May 2002: Stuck in the Middle. The Sandwich Generation
* April, 2002: Supporting Your Child's Social Success
* March, 2002: After the Spring Break ... Take a Break For Yourself
* February, 2002: Keep those loving connections alive
* January, 2002: Ringing in a Balanced New Year
* December, 2001: Holiday Safety Tips
* November, 2001: It's Flu Season
* October, 2001: Halloween Safety Tips
* September, 2001: Back to school

The Balancing Act. Work/Life Tips Printer Friendly Version

Thanksgiving Every Day: Making the Most of Family Mealtimes

Between work, school, dropping kids at swimming practice, responding to a gazillion e-mails, commuting, grocery shopping and housework, it’s no wonder that more and more families are having trouble sitting down together for an old fashioned ‘family meal.’ Though it may take some planning and re-jigging of schedules, the payoff is well worth it: several studies indicate that children who eat meals with their family tend to eat healthier, be happier and even get better grades at school. Below are some creative ways to help you find the time to eat together and maximize its value when you do:

Make eating together part of your routine. You’d be sure to get your child to a doctor’s appointment on time, so make the same effort to get everyone together for dinner (or breakfast) on a regular basis.

If you are running a little late be flexible. Offer children a healthy snack to tide them over and be prepared to adjust meALTimes to events going on in your lives. This may mean that, at times, breakfast becomes the family meal of the day. The important part is that the family is together and communicating.

Turn off the TV, computer and radio and let the answering machine pick up telephone messages. Keep the focus on talking and sharing as a family. Create a routine where everyone at the table has the chance to talk about their day. You’ll probably pick up some useful information from your children about their friends, school or interests. Open dialogue between adults also gives kids a glimpse into the world of ‘grown up’ conversation.

Put your family first. Making room for quality family time doesn’t always have to involve a ‘home-cooked’ meal. If you’re pressed for time, order take-out. Try, though, to maintain your dinner “communication” routine.

Enforce good manners. Establish your dinner table as a “no fighting or whining” zone and encourage your children to practice please, thank you and other courtesies. Remember, the easiest way to teach kids about dining etiquette is to be a model of polite eating habits.

Encourage children to lend a hand at meALTime. Children will enjoy the meal more if they feel that they’ve share in preparing it. Older kids can help with meal preparation while younger children can pitch in by setting the table or folding napkins.

Try to serve one food that is your child or children’s favourite. Not only will it ensure that your children will eat something, it also makes them feel that their preferences are valued.

Don’t force children to ‘clean the plate.’ Yes, there are children starving around the world, but this strategy often creates a power struggle between parent and child and can set up negative eating patterns. Allow children to eat until they’ve had enough.

While it may be impossible to get everyone together for a meal everyday, with a little flexibility and foresight, your family can create consistent meALTimes that nourish your family’s appetite for delicious food and meaningful conversation.

Need more information on parenting? Your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can help with a child to elder care resource and referral service that is geared toward enhancing the quality of family life. Call your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to see if you are eligible for the child to elder care resource and referral service at 1 866.468.9461 or 1.800.387.4765.

This newsletter is meant for informational purposes only and may not necessarily represent the views of individual organizations.

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© 2005 WarrenShepell