Teens Tips with Alicia Drummond teen-tips-so-every-child-can-thrive 2 The Mews,
1- 2 St Nicholas Lane,
BN7 2JZ Lewes,
info@teentips.co.uk 01273093940

for schools & parents

Family Meals

This week Guy’s & St Thomas’s Charity and the Bite Back 2030 Healthy Eating Charity released the findings of their recent research into the impact of lockdown on family meals.

They surveyed one thousand 14-19 year olds who reported a rise in the number of families cooking and eating together.  Sixty percent of them think this has had a positive impact on their mental health and wellbeing and want it to continue when lockdown ends.

Hurray a positive news story at last!  

Working in therapy with teenagers, loneliness is a theme which often crops up, but up until a few years ago, they would usually be talking about feeling lonely at school.  Now, more and more report feeling lonely at home and this seems to cause them more distress than feeling lonely at school.

Family life has got busier, parents work harder, convenience food is, well, more convenient, watching TV whilst eating is considered normal and people forage and snack on the run rather than sitting and eating.  The family meal has become the casualty of modern life and it is a real shame.

Numerous studies have shown that preparing food and eating together as a family has a positive impact on both mental and physical health.  It…

  • helps us handle the stresses of our daily lives
  • promotes sensible eating habits which help with weight control
  • helps families work together as a team which builds family ties
  • builds self esteem as children & teenagers feel valued when we want to spend time talking to them
  • builds self confidence as they become more proficient in the kitchen
  • reduces the prevalence of teenage drug use

Here are a few tips for successful mealtimes:-

  • Divide the labour by getting them involved in all aspects of preparation, serving and clearing.
  • Don’t discuss things which would embarrass or humiliate them.
  • No taboo topics.  This is a great time to have frank discussions about things like drugs and alcohol but keep them general and seek their opinion. 
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff.  If their table manners are not ideal ask yourself if they would behave in the same way in someone else’s house.  If the answer is yes, you need to change a few habits.  If the answer is no, focus on interesting conversation instead.
  • Make sure everyone gets a chance to talk.  If you notice that one family member is getting left out or is unable to make themselves heard above the crowd, pass a spoon around and whoever is holding it gets to talk.  No-one else can interrupt.

Have I managed to convince you that eating together as a family is beneficial on many levels?  I do hope so, and if you are one of the families who has taken it up during lockdown perhaps this will persuade you to keep going long after it ends.

Bon appetit! Alicia

Sign up to our newsletter

Keep up to date on our latest insights, guidance and tips

Other resources you might be interested in:

The Importance Of Hugs For Self-Esteem & Wellbeing In Adolescents with Alicia Drummond

As our children enter adolescence, they will start to reject things which seem childish to them, and that may include our gestures of affection.  As parents we generally accept their rejection of childhood toys and interests but struggle when we are in the firing line. It is a sad day when a previously affectionate child pulls away from a hug or shuts down your expressions of love. For parents, the loss of intimacy can feel devastating, but what we sometimes fail to appreciate is that even though they are the ones doing the rejecting, they will experience a sense of loss too. In celebration of National Hugging Day, we discuss the importance of hugs for the self-esteem and wellbeing of young people.

Coping with Omicron Uncertainty with Alicia Drummond

The past twenty months have taken their toll on the wellbeing of so many people and the last thing we all needed was more uncertainty and drama, but here we are, Omicron is with us, and life has become unpredictable once more. We share our tips on how to support your children and cope with the uncertainty of life with the new Omicron variant.

How To Support Your Child’s Mental Health During Lockdown

We are starting to see an increase in Covid restrictions again and the cracks are showing. Parents are telling us that they are not ok and many are concerned about the mental health of their children, both young ones and teenagers.  We are in a period of collective mourning with many of us grieving our loss of certainty, of social interaction, of familiar habits and routines.  We want our old lives back and we want it now. We share our tips on how to support your child’s mental health during these uncertain times.

In conversation with Emma-Jane Taylor On Teens & Mental Health

Alicia went onto the Emma-Jane Show’s podcast to discuss all things teens and mental health. This is a very open and honest conversation about recovery, resilience and Alicia’s journey to where she is today. 

Talking About Race And Ethnicity With Children & Teens

Following the horrific death of George Floyd and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, we have been asked for advice on how to talk to children and teenagers about racism. 

Online Grooming & Radicalisation [how to spot the signs and what to do]

With young people online more than ever, those who would seek to influence, radicalise or groom them via social media and gaming will be busy. Find out how to support your child and help them stay safe.

Free Listening Sessions For Teens In Particular Need Of Support

We are working with some wonderful therapists across the country and some are offering two free, half hour emergency sessions to teenagers who might be particularly struggling.

How To Talk To Your Child About Coronavirus

A pandemic can be a scary time for parents and children alike. So here are some pointers for keeping young people calm and holding a panic-free conversation about Coronavirus.

Receive our Free Parents Guide To Tik Tok

when you subscribe to our newsletter