When I was little my family always ate dinner together and my mom cooked almost everything from scratch. My mom would make us shut the television off and we would all sit in the kitchen together and have supper. This was something that was really important to her and it is something that I have tried to continue doing with my children. Several studies have been done of the importance of families taking the time to eat together and the benefits of having family meals are pretty astounding.
1. Families that eat together have better communication. Sitting down together for a meal without the distractions of televisions, phones or computers gives you time to talk to your children about their day as well as giving extra attention to you children.
2. Families that eat together have better nutrition. A study that was done by Harvard researchers and published in the Archives of Family Medicine showed that families that ate together almost every day consumed more healthy nutrients including calcium, fiber, iron, vitamins b12,6,C and E then families that rarely ate meals together. Another study done by University of Minnesota showed that families that ate meals together ate more fruits and vegetables and less snack foods.
3. Children that eat with their families have been shown to do better in school. Rockford Clinic says that preschool aged children that eat with their familes have higher language skills. A Columbia University study showed that teenagers that ate with their families at least five times a week were less likely to try drugs or drink compared to teenagers that ate with their families twice a week or less.
Here are some tips for making your family meals enjoyable for everyone.
1. Always shut off the television and other electronic devices and sit at the table together.
2. Never argue or use meal time to discuss previous bad behavior. Keep the mood light, relaxed and enjoyable for everyone.
3. Use it as a time to celebrate achievements in your child or spouses life, even the same ones. Make it like a special occasion and make a special treat, such as a cake or cupcakes.