Family meals and Covid-19

Cabin fever cooking has taken off – a recent survey from Bord Bia shows that 41% of Irish families are eating together with their families more now as a result of the Covid-19 response. And many are choosing familiar favourites, creating more tasty meals, while cooking has become a focal point of the household’s day in a way that hasn’t been the case for years.

If all this sounds far fetched then you are not alone. With colleges, schools and childcare centres closed in most areas, the Covid-19 crisis has instantly changed the lives of everyone worldwide. Squeezed back into our family units, with all our interests snatched out of reach, relationships have been put under pressure and for some, those pressures are hard to bear.

Stressed parents struggle to balance work with caring for children and older children have to manage without school, friends, play, sports and all the other activities that make up a normal day. Older teenagers, young adults and students are completely limited in their normal social routines and freedom that are an essential part of their lives.

So if bringing the family together sounds like too much when you are already at your wits' end and struggling to keep it together – you are not alone. It is hard to cope with warm fuzzy images on social media of creative play and family gatherings around the dinner table. Especially if you are coping with moody children who are acting out, who won’t eat anything that doesn’t come out of a packet or a cardboard box.

If it is possible to come together for a meal, there are some ways that it might help to relieve the strains of the current situation.

How family meals could help

It may be an opportunity to talk – both for parents themselves and also to listen to their children without the background of television and screens  and hear about worries or fears. Children get a chance to listen to your view about this crisis rather than getting all their information from social media. Listening is the best way to stay connected with family members and is a crucial first step to resolving conflict.

So if you can manage it, it might help to build the day around mealtimes.

The enforced confinement does mean that there is an opportunity for families to have more healthy cooked meals. Children can help with planning, preparing, cooking as well as cleaning up after meals. Sharing tasks helps with family bonding and relationships. Older children can be tasked with a schedule for planning their favourite meals as well as cooking and washing up.

And if that sounds like more pressure and too much hard work in an already tough schedule than that’s ok too. Good enough is all we can do for now.

Read more

Posted: 10/06/2020 11:56:56 by Catherine Conlon

About Me

Avatar Image
Catherine Conlon
I am the Director of Human Health and Nutrition at safefood. I have four children aged 18 – 25, a husband and a black Labrador. I like to write about wellbeing and sustainability, walk my half dog / half horse in the wilds of Ballinskelligs, plant wild gardens and vegetables, listen to Andrea Bocelli and sleep.