With busy schedules, long working hours and extracurricular activities for children, it can be a challenge to bring the whole family together even for a few hours. One of the best ways to do so is with a big family dinner. While everyone is around the table, you can chat about the weekly events going on in your lives, connect with each other and form bonds that will last for a lifetime. Unfortunately, many families don’t enjoy this tradition because they don’t realize just how important it is. Here are five reasons that the family dinner is the most important meal of the day.
1. Family Dinners Reduce Drug and Alcohol Use
You might be shocked to learn that regular family dinners can make a difference in the potential drug or alcohol use of your teenagers. Those who never enjoy family dinners as children or teenagers are four times as likely to use tobacco products and twice as likely to take illegal drugs or drink alcohol than their counterparts who regularly participate in family meals.
2. Healthier Meals
One of the big benefits of having a family dinner is that children and adults are both more likely to make healthy food choices. Parents will probably be more interested in serving up fresh produce or nutritious meal items, and children are more likely to eat those items than if they were eating alone. As childhood obesity rises, having family dinners on a regular basis is an important factor in keeping your family healthy and at the right weight.
3. Improve School Grades
Children and teenagers who enjoy family dinners regularly are also more likely to get better grades in school. By showing your children that you care about them, their interests and their future, you can help them build the confidence they need to succeed in school. However, keep the family dinner discussion neutral and save homework talk for another time to keep the mood enjoyable.
4. Improve Your Child’s Self Esteem
Showing your children that they are a priority in your life can help them to increase their self-esteem and self-worth. Children with confidence are more likely to speak their mind, stand up to peer pressure, pursue their passions and succeed in school and later on in life. Make sure that you spend time during your family dinner asking questions of your child, listening to their answers and showing interest in their friends, activities and hobbies.
5. Build Friendships With Your Children
Many parents spend their time supervising, correcting or punishing their children, but a friendly family dinner can establish friendships and caring connections. This will help your children to stay in communication with you and feel closer to you.
Try to make a habit of regular family dinners, starting with a minimum of once a week. Remember that it is not about the food, but instead about the experience. Save time by ordering in delivery items from a local restaurant that you all enjoy. This will make it easier to fit in family time and can reduce the burden of cooking and cleaning up after a big meal.
About the Author