How many nights a week do you sit down together as a family to share dinner? 1? 2? 3? Between swimming lessons and my daughter’s acting rehearsals, my workouts, horseback riding, work and whew – martial arts too – it’s getting harder for our family to carve out dinner time together.
My kids lead busy lives and we do too. We used to be so good at this sitting down together as a family when the kids were tiny, as babies, toddlers and preschoolers, we managed 4-5 nights a week. I was a stay at home mom and my husband made it home at a decent hour so we could all connect and share a healthy meal, while chatting about the day’s highs and lows.
My girls are tweens now and honestly busier than ever. My business is a constant 24/7 factor in our home. Our attention is always pulled in fourteen different directions at dinner hour. Tonight as my husband was staining our fence he hollered in to say don’t hold dinner for me. I pulled one child away from her ipad and it seemed like the other had no interest in eating at all. Sad panda face.
A new Unicef report card indicates Canadian children rank in the bottom half for well-being when compared to other industrialized countries (17thof 29 countries measured), and Canadian children’s views of their own lives have worsened over the past decade, according to a global report released by UNICEF, Report Card 11.. Among the greatest areas of concern for Canadian children include the high rate of bullying and the lower rate of children aged 15-19 participating in further education.
Making Meals Meaningful, a program developed in partnership with UNICEF Canada and Dr. Karyn Gordon and sponsored by Maple Leaf Foods and Maple Leaf Prime®, connects families during mealtimes using themed conversation starter cards that parents can use to have engaging, thoughtful conversations with their children about real, hard-to-discuss issues including bullying, social media, peer pressure, and drugs and alcohol.
“Children have a lot to cope with on a daily basis, and as parents, it’s not always easy to get our children to open up about important issues that can significantly impact their overall well-being,” says Dr. Karyn Gordon, a leading North American relationship and parenting expert for families and organizations. “Mealtimes are a great opportunity for families to come together and share experiences that bring everyone closer together. It is essential to aim to have at least two to three meals a week together as a family.”
“Families, children specifically, are facing social pressures like never before. Mealtimes are an important time for them to connect and we’re proud to play a role in bringing families together so they can have meaningful conversations while enjoying and preparing nutritious, wholesome foods,” says Pam Kellogg, Senior Marketing Director, Maple Leaf Prime®.
The Making Meals Meaningful program provides tips, tools and recipes that parents can use to engage their families in meaningful conversations and develop deeper relationships with their children while preparing and sharing meals together. A new deck of conversation starter cards are now available online at www.makingmealsmeaningful.ca. A PDF version of the cards can be downloaded for free, and for a limited time, a printed deck of cards is available for a small donation. Proceeds will help UNICEF purchase critical, life-saving food supplies for children all over the world.
“Improving the well-being of children all over the world is very important to UNICEF,” says Sharon Avery, Chief Development Officer, UNICEF Canada. “Through the Making Meals Meaningful program, we are encouraging families to start talking to their children about tough topics that are not always easy to discuss.”
On World Food Day let’s make a plan to do better for our children. Let’s share strategies and support an amazing organization, Unicef, which always has children’s best interests at heart. I can’t wait for this opportunity to share how making lives better for Canadian children, can impact so many other children around the world.
RSVP here and don’t forget to follow the sponsors.
@MapleLeafFoods and @MapleLeafPrime
October 16th 8 to 9 p.m. EST.
Follow the hashtag #meaningfulmeals
And did I mention there are some prizes too! You must RSVP to win.