Why You Should Be Having Dinner As a Family Every Night!
Few people give much thought to dinner time – of course, besides the actual question of what to eat, that is! However, there is more to dinner time than just filling your tummy, and science has proven it. For families, the single simplest and most effective therapy for the mind, body, and soul is to spend dinner eating together. Here’s why.
Food for the Mind
Here’s something to think about – did you know that your children can learn more words from dinner time talk than they do from you reading a bedtime story? Well, that is especially true if you don’t read them a bedtime story, of course. In all seriousness, though, studies have found that aside from the 3000 most common words used during dinner time banter, children learned another 1000 rare words just listening in to their parents and family members exchanging conversation. Storybooks barely compared, offering only 143 rare words! Of course, having a higher vocabulary has many benefits for your children like helping them communicate better both in written and spoken communication and helping them read more fluently and easily.
While on the topic of brain food, it was noted that school-going children who shared meals with their families displayed higher achievement scores than those who didn’t. In fact, dinner time as a family proved to be a higher predictor of higher school achievement than how long they spent doing homework, attending a school, doing art, or playing sports. The findings show a strong correlation between academic performance and family dinner frequency and that adolescents were also twice as likely to get As in school.
Food for the Body
It was found that children who shared dinner meals with their families ended up consuming more fruits, vegetables, micronutrients, and vitamins than those who did not. They also indulged far less in fried foods and soft drinks. Moreover, children who shared meals with their families grew up to be healthier adults and also lowered instances of obesity. The effect of family dinners on medical conditions was also explored, and lo and behold, it was found that sharing family meals lowered anxiety and lessened the symptoms and effects of many medical conditions like asthma, for example.
All of these wonderful benefits were only on the table if parents engaged warmly and responsively with their kids, though – and if the TV was off! It was shown that there is a direct relationship between overweight third graders and watching television during dinner time. This was observed in Portugal, Finland, and Sweden.
Food for the Spirit
Regular family dinners have been proven to result in a great reduction in high-risk teen behavior like smoking, substance abuse, alcohol abuse, violence, eating disorders, and much more. In addition to that, it was found that teenagers who spent dinner with their family recorded lower rates of feelings of depression, suicide, or general gloom. It seems that the effect of family dinners is more powerful than that of going to church! The benefits extend to more than just an absence of bad behavior as good behavior has been associated with family dinners. Positive moods and more optimistic perspectives of the future were reported about adolescents who partook in family dinners. So, ultimately, dinner time is the perfect and most reliable opportunity to raise positive, healthy spirited children into adults with positive behavior and a generally better outlook on life!
With so many incredible benefits to sharing a meal as a family, there really is no excuse not to make this a daily habit – if it isn’t already, that is! It is never too late to start. A daily mealtime shared connection is something you should make every member of the family look forward to. If you’re looking for a way to forge a better relationship with your children or to improve family dynamics, there is no better place to start than by making family dinners a priority. And of course, any meal shared together is better than no meal shared together. Nobody says it needs to be a huge spread that took hours to prepare. Whatever is going on your plate, just make sure you’re sharing the time to dine as a family, and it will be a recipe for success!
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