Families worldwide face some very hard issues. Whether their child is in the higher percentage of obese children, or abusing drugs or just struggling to relate to other children, the anxiety of these types of issues can be overwhelming to families. One very simple event that can help such issues is the family dinner. This article by the University of Florida cites research showing the value and benefits of simply having a family dinner. Here is the article:
Advantages Of Household Dinners
Families benefit from eating dinner together.
Photo compliments of Bigstock Photo.
Busy schedules of both parents and children make it harder to have “family dinners.” But families may not be aware of the benefits that come with regularly eating together at the table.
It has been proven that when families eat together at least three times a week their children develop more positively.Family dinners have been linked to a lower risk of obesity, substance abuse, eating disorders and an increased chance of graduating from high school.
When families eat together they acquire great family time and spend more time communicating with each other. This lets parents teach healthy communication without distractions from smart phones, television, computers, and mobile devices.
By engaging your children in conversation, you teach them how to listen and provide them with a chance to express their own opinions. This allows your children to have an active voice within the family.
Communicating at supper increases child vocabulary and even their reading ability for all children from different social classes. Family dinners allow every family member to discuss his or her day and share any exciting news.
Try this next time to improve communication:
• Discuss the child’s day. Express an interest in your child’s daily life.
• Discuss current events. Bring up news that’s appropriate for your child’s age.
• Let all family members talk. Be an active listener and be sure your child learns to listen as well.
• Encourage your child to participate. Do not underestimate your child’s ability to hold a conversation.
The sense of security and togetherness provided by family meals helps nurture children into healthy, well-rounded adults. Frequent family dinners have a positive impact on children’s values, motivation, personal identity, and self-esteem.
When the youth eat dinner with their parents they are more likely to succeed and follow rules set by their elders. A decrease in high-risk behaviors is related to the amount of time spent with family—especially during family dinners.
To get the most from eating together , follow these guidelines:
• Turn off television, radio, mobile devices, etc., during dinner.
• Have family dinners at least four or five times a week.
• Enjoy positive conversation during the meal.
• Spend an hour eating dinner, conversing, and cleaning up together.
When families eat together children tend to establish great nutritional habits that will help them out in the future. Studies show family dinners increase the intake of fruits and vegetables. Families who eat dinner together tend to eat fewer fried foods and drink less soda. Family meal frequency is linked to the intake of protein, calcium, and some vitamins.
Here are some mealtime suggestions:
• Cook as a family and include everyone in the preparation process.
• Experiment with fun recipes.
• Remake old recipes with healthier alternatives.
• Have “theme” cuisine nights such as Italian, Mexican, or Caribbean.
• Know your children’s favorite meals and cook them on a rotating basis.
• Create your own recipes.
Nightly family dinners may require effort in planning, but the benefits in mental and physical health to you and your family are more than worth it.
With crazy schedules it is important to remember to save some time for family and there is no better way to do so than eating together as a whole. It is a valuable part of family life, having all kinds of direct and indirect benefits to children.