Mealtime at Camp
Mealtime at summer camp is a very special occurrence. It’s a time to come together as a community to eat, share, laugh, sing and catch up on the day’s events. The act of coming together three times a day brings a sense of security and belonging to each person in our camp family. Mealtime at camp is a scheduled time devoid of outside distractions…something that can be very challenging to pull off at home.
Home life is packed with over scheduled days and often limited opportunity to come together for a family meal. Trying to juggle work schedules, school assignments, after school activities, and the distractions of home life can be quite tricky when planning sit-down family dinners. Even breakfast proves to be challenging with everyone rushing to get ready, often grabbing a breakfast bar minutes before the bus pulls up. But don’t throw in the towel quite yet. The abundance of research supporting the importance of family meals is worth making the time and effort to come together as a family as often as possible.
Research shows that eating as a family has great benefits. Anne Fishel, Ph.D. of The Family Dinner Project notes the importance of eating together. “Dinner is a time to relax, recharge, laugh, tell stories and catch up and the day’s ups and downs, while developing a sense of who we are as a family”. The dinner table is the perfect place to model good table manners, social skills, and good nutrition. According to a stu
dy conducted by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, children who eat dinner with their parents 5 or more days a week have less trouble with drugs and alcohol, eat healthier, show better academic performance, and report being closer with their parents than children who eat dinner with their parents less often. Sadly, research shows that the majority of American families report eating a single meal together less than 5 days a week.
It may be difficult to sit down as a family at least 5 days a week, but any improvement is a step in the right direction. Even if family mealtime falls short in quantity, it can definitely be filled with quality. Make the most of mealtime together by shutting the TV, putting all phones away, and devoting time to one another. Kids will enjoy the togetherness like they do at camp 3 times a day, 7 days a week.
Oh…and let’s not forget a few additional benefits of mealtime at camp…camp gives children the opportunity to try new foods, teaches them to sit on their chair for an entire meal, and even clean up after themselves…pretty great stuff