I am remembering meal time as I grew up. Mom, Dad and four girls made up our family. I was one of the “middle children.” I had one sister 14 months older and two younger than I. One was six years younger and the other was nine years younger.


I am remembering meal time as I grew up. Mom, Dad and four girls made up our family. I was one of the “middle children.” I had one sister 14 months older and two younger than I. One was six years younger and the other was nine years younger.
Mother worked hard to make meal time healthy and tasty. She canned vegetables from our garden and also canned fruit they purchased by the bushel.
The chicken we ate all summer long were ones she raised and butchered. The beef was from our herd on the farm.
My father would always ask Mom, “Did you make any goodies today?”
Often my father worked late on the farm, especially in the summer, so we ate before he came in from working on the farm.
Otherwise the family ate together. It was a great time of sharing what happened that day.  
After I moved away from home and had our family, we valued family meal time also. Our daughters always were a part of the conversation. We were always amused at their topics of conversation. It gave us great insight as to what was going on in their lives.
So this is why each year in September I find it important to promote “Celebrate Family Day,” a day to eat dinner, or any meal, with your children.  This year “Celebrate Family Day” is on Monday.
Enjoy your children!
When adults and children eat together:
• Children do better in school.
• Children have fewer behavior problems.
• Teenagers are less apt to use alcohol or drugs.
• Children and teenagers say they like having time to talk to the adults in their lives.
• Communication improves between children and adults.
• Children understand their family’s values and traditions.
• Traditions are created around food and meals.
Also ...
• Meals are more nutritious and healthful
• Food dollars go further.
• Time is better utilized because the family only cooks one meal.
• Involves family in meal preparation.
10 tips for quality family meals:
1. Aim for four or more meals a week.
2. Make family meals a priority.
3. Keep a sense of humor and laugh a lot.
4. Cook it quick, and eat it slow.
5. Work toward happy, relaxing conversations at meals.
6. If time is an issue, make meals quick and easy.
7. Shop for food and cook together.
8. Take telephone calls later.
9. Turn the TV off.
10. Respect each individual’s right to decide how much to eat.

Susan. M. Jackson is the Harvey County Extension agent, family and consumer sciences and community development.