Now is the time to be radically grateful for small, everyday wins, because the rest is just so overwhelming. When you make an effort to find bright spots in your family's day, it can ease burdened minds and hearts. This might be why families eating breakfast with their kids more than ever before, and honestly, I think this is one of those things about this protracted period of forced closeness that we should keep forever.
No stranger to the breakfast table, General Mills commissioned a survey that found that one of the biggest shifts in routine for families was that many more were eating breakfast together at the beginning of their day. 70% of those surveyed said the biggest morning challenge is sitting down to eat breakfast as a family, but now with the pandemic hitting, 73% of families with school-aged kids said they have had that morning time together. Unsurprisingly, 55% of kids are choosing cereal for breakfast, which is totally fine by all parents, am I right?
It's a silver lining in an otherwise bleak landscape that has taken a toll on family time. All of this togetherness can be a bit much. We get on each other's nerves, our kids are cooped up and bored. We tire of the monotonous company. But breakfast is different. No matter how many times you share it with someone, it's new every time. It is the part of the day that is still fresh with possibility, before small squabbles put parents on edge, or mess-making gets out of hand. (Most of the time.) It's true that a big reason for the calmness of the meal is thanks in large part to the fact that sleepy brains haven't been fully activated — or properly fed — but seriously, take the wins where you can at this point. And according to the survey, 61% of parents hope to keep this routine change even when things are "normal."
The whole eating-breakfast-together phenomenon has made me evaluate what I've learned about the meal over the years. For example, I don't know how many times I've heard, "breakfast is the most important meal of the day" believing that they were speaking only of nutrition. Reexamining that old aphorism, I think it could have just as much to do with the fact that families don't have a full day's worth of baggage on their shoulders as they sit down to enjoy the meal together. When you're not exhausted and stressed, that cup of coffee and your kids' Cheerios with banana just hits a little differently. And now that more parents are eating breakfast with their kids, more kids are spending time with their parents in a new, novel way that just makes sense for modern relationships. Let's keep this going. It's a wonderful way to connect, and whether you're serving cereal or fruit salad or an entire spread of eggs and bacon and toast, it's the time together that makes it special.