February is Family Meal Month here on the West Coast, and our West Coast Literacy Coordinators have joined with Island Health and School District 70 to promote the event and help facilitate families to eat together on a regular basis. Elementary school children have the option to record on a calendar the days when the family, (for this purpose, defined as at least one adult and one child), shares a meal together.
The calendar is handed in at the end of the month and all are entered into a random draw for prizes.
There are also fun discussion cards available through the elementary schools or at www.makemealtimefamilytime.com, with entertaining and thought provoking questions to spark discussion at the kitchen table.
A number of studies have concluded that eating a meal or a snack together as a family has many benefits, including, but not limited to; building strong family ties by setting the table for sharing and talking, creating family traditions and memories, and making more healthful meal choices.
In children specifically, these studies have shown that some benefits include improved social and language skills, healthy weight, a sense of belonging, and a better connection with family and friends.
Family Meal time can happen over any meal -breakfast, lunch and snacks count just as much as dinner. It is a time for food, laughter and pleasant conversation; talk about report cards and discipline issues can be saved to another time.
We encourage everyone to join us in Family Meal time, take a seat at the table, turn off the technology and talk! Sally Mole is a Ucluelet District municipal councillor and Literacy Coordinator for Ucluelet.