Leading child nutritionist Charlotte Stirling Reads stark warning as new study shows that that a quarter of families ‘eat dinner in front of TV every day’
“Lead by example Charlotte said, how can you expect your children to have apositive relationship and attitude with food as they grow up if you don’t.” Almost one in four British families eat dinner on their laps in front of the TV every day, a study has found. Just half enjoy a family meal at the dinner table and one in ten parents admits to letting children under 14 eat alone in their rooms. Meanwhile, although 86 per cent of parents say they believe it is important to eat dinner as a family, just two in five say they eat together every night, according to the report from nursery brand Stokke.
It seems parents may be setting a bad example, with three quarters of parents admitting they keep their phones on the table at all times during dinner. Men are worse offenders than women, with 81% cent of fathers keeping their phone on the table compared with 71% cent of women.
Stine Brogaard from Stokke, said: “Eating together as family is so important and however tempting it might be to have a phone or tablet there to entertain your child, it’s important for parents to take the time to talk to their little one, educate them on their food and chat at this special time of day. With work commitments it’s often so difficult for parents to get time to spend with their children so, no matter how old, from babies to teenagers – make an effort to talk about things, have a joke and listen.”
In order to help break the cycle and bring back quality family time, leading nutritionist Charlotte Stirling-Reed gives her top tips on family mealtimes. “The idea of eating together as a family for every meal will probably seem unrealistic for most of us. However, whenever we can, it’s really worthwhile making the most of time together eating, as infants and toddlers pick up so much about what to eat and how to eat from watching us and others around them at mealtimes, lead by example. I love the idea of family mealtimes, whenever possible. Even if this just means mum or dad sitting down with baby or grandparents joining children at the table while they eat after school. It all can make a big impact on the enjoyment of mealtimes and definitely stop fussy eaters too.”
- Eat together, whenever possible
- Get them involved
- Eat similar foods, regularly
- Establish a routine
- Try and make it distraction free
- Take the pressure off and leave out the rules
- Give them some choice
Stokke is the leading baby brand in Scandinavia whose ethos is to nurture family bonding, having your baby closer to you and the importance of eye contact. The iconic Tripp Trapp® highchair has sold more than 11 million worldwide.