Eat Dinner Together
by Teresa, The CuteKid™ Staff
Studies have shown that something as simple as eating dinner together as a family every night can have a major impact upon the happiness
and well-being of both parents and children. But with today’s busy schedules most families are lucky to eat dinner together
about four days a week and the numbers decrease as children get older. Yet eating dinner together is so important. It is one of the things that
happy families do and here’s why:
Eating dinner together increases communication.
National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Colombia University
found that parents who eat with their children at least five times a week
report having a better relationship with their child. The reason is simple
as you are sharing a meal you are also sharing conversation. The dinner
table is a perfect place to discuss what is happening in each family
member’s life, although parents do need to be careful not to control the
conversation or discuss any topics that could cause conflict.
Children who eat dinner with their families have better academic performance
In the same study researchers found that teens that eat dinner with their family are more likely to
receive A’s and B’s than teens that do not. Elementary students also benefit academically from
family dinners. Another study found that preschoolers who eat dinner together with their
families have better language skills because they hear adult conversation around the
Families that eat dinner together eat healthier.
When meals are cooked at home they typically have less fat and higher amounts
of fiber, minerals, and vitamins. A Harvard study found "that children who ate
family dinners more frequently had more healthy eating habits" overall, even when
not at home. They also typically "consume more vegetables, fruit and juice, and
Family dinners foster healthy child development
Family eating dinners together help ensure that a child will make good choices. In
the report, The Importance of Family Dinners III, it shows that teens who eat
dinner two or fewer night a week are more than twice as likely to smoke or try
marijuana, and one and half times more likely to drink alcohol. Another study
by Drs. Bowden and Zeisz reported that teens who ate dinner with their families
were overall "less likely to do drugs or be depressed and were more motivated at
school and had better relationships." Family dinners were a “marker for other
positive family attributes” and provided the stability and source of communication
that children need.
Of course eating dinner together as a family doesn’t guarantee that your child
will get A’s in school or never smoke but statistically your chances are better
if you just sit down at the table and eat dinner together.