Monday, August 23, 2010

Why Families Should Eat Meals Together Whenever Possible

It makes sense that spending more time with your kids should strengthen relationships, and there’s proof that family meals keep kids healthier on many levels. No doubt, finding the time to choose a common hour when everyone can sit at the dinner table can be challenging. Yet, it’s definitely worth the effort.

Children who eat meals with their families have proven to 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. Use this time to get to know your kids. When parents show that they are interested in what their children have to say, the kids are more likely to be more open about their lives.

There are lots of great things that come out of family meals. For starters, parents will learn more about your kids, and they’ll learn more about you. Take this chance to demonstrate that you value other family member’s opinions. Ask your kids what’s happening in their lives, and discover what matters to them, who their friends are, etc. etc.

Studies also prove that parental involvement and influence are important in preventing substance abuse. Teens 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, compared to teens who have frequent family dinners.

Family meals also encourage healthy eating for all family members. When you eat with your children, it is more likely that meals will be more balanced. Research shows that girls who have five or more meals a week with their families are a third less likely to develop unhealthy eating habits, which can range from skipping meals to full-fledged anorexia or abusing diet pills.

We all lead excessively busy lives. Religious classes, sports, classes, jobs, and many other other activities make finding time for family meals difficult. Yet, I encourage you to do your best to try to make this a priority. Each and every member of your family will enjoy the benefits.

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