The Importance Of Family Dinner

You've probably heard the saying “The Family That Plays Together – Stays Together”. While that's certainly true, there's another important activity that the whole family should be doing together – eating dinner. With weird work schedules and after-school activities, family schedules are becoming crazy. When it comes time to eat dinner, everyone just grabs something wherever and whenever they get a chance. Unfortunately, this means that you and your family are missing out on some important bonding and more.

Here are a few interesting facts in regards to family dinners.

  • “The average parent spends 38.5 minutes per week in meaningful conversation with their children… “(A.C. Nielsen Co.) By simply eating dinner together each night and making an effort to talk to your kids, you can easily more than quadruple that time. You get to know your child better and isn't that the whole point of having a family?

  • “Family dinners are more important than play, story time and other family events in the development of vocabulary of younger children.” (Harvard Research, 1996) The dinner table has always been the social center of families, so it is no wonder that that's where our kids learn to talk. It gives them “real live” demonstrations and practice not only in speech but also social interactions.

  • “Frequent family meals are associated with a lower risk of smoking, drinking and using marijuana; with a lower incidence of depressive symptoms and suicidal thoughts; and with better grades in 11 to 18 year olds”. (Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 2004.) By spending more quality time with your kids over dinner, you will quickly be alerted to any changes in your child, but you also develop a better relationship with your kids. Wouldn't you want your child to come to you with his problems instead of turning to drinking, drugs, or considering taking his life?

  • “The more often teens have dinner with their parents, the less time they spend with boyfriends or girlfriends, and the less likely they are to have sexually active friends”. (National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University – 2004) Not only do your teens have less time to hang out with boyfriends and girlfriends, having a good relationship with you makes them less likely to search for closeness by becoming sexually active.

  • “Adolescent girls who have frequent family meals, and a positive atmosphere during those meals, are less likely to have eating disorders”. (University of Minnesota, 2004) It is up to you to help your children develop a good relationship with food. Not only can you significantly lessen the chances that your daughter will develop a eating disorder, this is also your chance to teach everyone in the family good and healthy eating habits that will last a lifetime.

Isn't that reason enough for you to bring the family dinner back? Sure, it can get a little tricky getting everyone together with our crazy schedules and having a hot meal cooked at the same time. But it is well worth the effort and once you get in the habit of eating dinner together as a family, it gets easier and no none would want to miss it.

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Now take it a step further and start cooking with your children. Of course there are plenty more food related articles here.



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