The Results Team's Blog
With jobs, school projects, extra-curricular activities, after-school programs, and shopping, most families would rather eat on the run. Swinging through a fast food restaurant on your way to the next thing might be all you can fit in most evenings. But an ever-growing body of evidence points to the fact that shared time at the dinner table, as a family, improves family life, assists in weight control and helps children learn to communicate.
Family dinner also gives an opportunity for teaching moments: those organic times you can instill your values into your children. Here are some benefits that come with eating together.
- Self-esteem. When the family sits around a table, each person is facing the group. When anyone speaks, the others automatically look at them. So, when your children tell you something at the table, they more often believe that you actually hear them, and you automatically acknowledge it if even simple by your gaze.
- Sharing food together teaches children to wait their turn, to take portions for themselves while leaving equal portions for other family members, and to make certain everyone gets enough to eat. After all, they can see everyone else's plate, so an empty plate is more evident than when everyone is staring at the television or out the car window.
- Communication. Because you control the background noise in your home, you can facilitate communication. A noisy restaurant might be difficult for a family member to talk over, but in your own home, you can set the noise level at dinnertime.
- Eating together more often directly correlates with healthy eating patterns. Home cooked meals often include more vegetables and fruits, and less processed foods that are healthier for all family members.
- The American College of Pediatricians publishes research that shows family eating time promotes less drug use, smoking, alcohol consumption, and other high-risk behaviors among teens, and less teen depression.
- In small children, sharing the family table improves language acquisition and development while teens sharing family dinner seven times a week are almost forty percent more likely to receive higher grades in school.
Regularly sharing meals together gives the whole family an opportunity to share in the lives and interests of the other family members. Because the parents make the “rules” at the family table, children and teens (and adults) are less often absorbed in their electronic devices and spend more time actually interacting with other family members. Memories often form around shared times of breaking bread.
4 Rainbow Pond Dr, Walpole, MA 02081
40 Church St, North Attleboro, MA 02760
276 Purchase St, Milford, MA 01757
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