It’s certainly logical that spending more time with family members should strengthen relationships, and now there’s proof that family meals keep kids healthier on many levels. Of course, carving time out of your lives to find a common hour when everyone can sit at the dinner table is a challenge. Yet, it’s worth the effort.
Kids who eat family meals do better in school and are less involved in dangerous behaviors. Research shows that the time spent talking, debating, and even arguing over the dinner table, helps forge stronger relationships. When parents show that they are interested in what their children have to say, the kids are more likely to share more about their lives.
There are many positives that come out of family meals. For one, parents will learn more about their kids, and visa versa. You also get the chance to demonstrate that you value other family member’s opinions. Find out what’s happening in your children’s lives, what matters to them, who their friends are, etc. etc.
Studies also show that parental influence and involvement is an important tool in preventing substance abuse. Compared to teens who have frequent family dinners, those who rarely have family dinners are three-and-a-half times more likely to have abused prescription drugs or an illegal drug other than marijuana.
Family meals also encourage healthy eating. By eating with your children, it is more likely that meals will be more balanced. Girls who have five or more meals a week with their families are one-third less likely to develop unhealthy eating habits, which can range from skipping meals to full-fledged anorexia or abusing diet pills.
With religious classes, sports, classes, jobs, and other activities, finding time for family meals is difficult. But do your best to try to make this a priority. Your family will enjoy the benefits.