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Family Time: Eating Dinner Together

 
Eating dinner together as a family is an effective way to collectively engage parents and children so that there is more harmony in the home. Dinnertime can also create an atmosphere for greater communication and bonding, so that members of the family can become stronger as a unit.

Family Meals Offer Better Nutrition

One of the most obvious benefits of family meals is that everyone is more likely to have a more nutritious meal. Kids who choose foods on their own are more likely to make poor choices, such as fast food. Families that eat dinner together usually eat more nutritious food on a regular basis, for better overall health. Kids eat better with their families, often because they will be exposed to healthier choices and options, for a more balanced meal that includes much lower sugar and fat content.

Better Family Communication

It is possible to establish a better family identity with regular dinner times. The routine can provide stability, security and a positive environment in which to grow. When families eat dinner together, they can keep in touch and communicate more regularly. Dinner time can also be a good opportunity to plan and solve problems.  It is easier to address family issues at a regular time than to schedule other meeting times.

Stronger Relationships

It has been found that families who eat dinner regularly together also have stronger, much happier relationships with people overall. Family dinners make it more possible to have the best relationships with other members of the family as well. Dinner time as a family involves communicating and engaging each other, which fosters better communication. Sharing a meal is generally a pleasant experience, and eating together is far more fun than eating alone. Teens in particular, who usually eat family dinners, are more likely to have better parental relationships as well. Families, like any other group that spends time together, learn to communicate and grow more healthy and strong.

Less Problems with Children

By knowing more about what is going on with school, friends, jobs and family life, parents can be more aware of what their kids are doing and address issues as they arise. In most cases where there are behavioral problems with children, it has been found that there is a disconnect which could be better monitored at family meals. In addition, children are less likely to have involvement in certain at-risk behaviors such as illegal activity, promiscuity or other socially unacceptable activities. Teens who have more frequent family dinners on a weekly basis are far less likely to use marijuana, tobacco, other drugs or alcohol.

Family Meals Foster Better Learning

Children who eat family style dinners regularly have been known to do better in school. Eating dinner together also regularly fosters learning. Families who engage in a variety of types of conversation encourage learning through communication.  Children are also then more exposed to a broader vocabulary through family discussions.

There are many benefits for families who eat regular meals together. Investing as little as 35 minutes a day for dinner daily is a great investment for the health and well-being of children.

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