This is a great video that shows how much family meals shared together matter. As a child, the things I learned at the family dinner table were not apparent to me. The skills and emotional connections we developed were the real bonus to eating dinner together. We learned how to set the table, how to wait for everyone to be served before we started and to wait to clear until everyone was finished. We learned that we should put the fork down between bites and not to speak with our mouths full. We learned how to say grace before the meal (giving us early public speaking training!)
I’m not saying every dinner was smooth and the atmosphere was always pleasant. In fact, there was many a “discussion” about everything from politics to how we were getting along with our friends. And naturally, we kids squabbled and picked on each other until we had to apologize! (Early resolution training!) What I do remember, and know as a parent, is there is great value in gathering at the family dinner table as often as possible.
~The more times you eat together as a family each week, the more your family connection increases, which means increased self-esteem, sense of well-being, and positive social behaviors. This relates to the adults as well as children. Plus, (who would have guessed), over 70% of teenagers say they value catching up at dinner with family members.
~ From elementary school to high school, kids who eat meals with their families earn better test scores and do better in school.
~Three meals a week together results in your child being 2x less likely to drink, 3x less likely to use marijuana and 4x less likely to smoke cigarettes.
~Eating together as a family increases over-all consumption of healthy foods. This includes fruits and veggies, fiber, calcium-rich foods and vitamins.
Knowing the benefits of family meals helps – but how do we achieve this goal of regular, expected family meals that work in our crazy schedule of meetings, back-to-school nights, sports practices, etc.?
On a personal note, I love that I’m teaching my kids the value of using what is available in my personal toolbox to achieve my goals. It’s a high-five for the parents when your kids ask if everyone can eat together tonight!
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