Come to the Table…

August 13, 2017 | Susannah Wallenstrom

Family Meals

I can’t believe we are halfway through August already! Summer went by shockingly fast, and my head is already spinning with back-to -school to-do lists, sports schedules, and the impending early morning routine. With three teenage girls in the house, things are bound to get crazy around here! This brings me to the topic of family meals…more specifically dinners. After school starts, this is often the only time our family spends time together on weekdays. So I want to make them work and work well.

Family meals have been on my mind a lot this summer so I thought I would write a few blog posts on the why, how, and what of family meals in the next few weeks. Let’s start with the “why”. You may have heard about the many benefits of family meals, but just in case, here are a few reasons to make the effort.

  1. Nutrition: Studies show that kids eat better when they eat with their families. They eat more fruits and vegetables, more vitamins and minerals, and less soda and fried foods. For teens, family meals have been shown to lower the rate of obesity.
  2. Social Issues: Research shows that teens who eat with their families are better adjusted emotionally and socially. Recent studies link regular family dinners with lower rates of substance abuse, teen pregnancy and depression, as well as higher grade-point averages and self-esteem. Children who eat regular family meals at home are also 35% less likely to suffer from eating disorders. Dinner offers parents an opportunity to check in about friends, activities, and attitudes. If changes are noted in these areas, parents can then step in before problems get more serious. Additionally, family mealtime brings structure and routine to a child and adds a sense of stability to their lives.
  3. Communication: Mealtimes are a great time to reconnect as a family. Check in about everyone’s day, laugh, and give everyone a chance to speak up. Start early as this will benefit younger kids as they get older. Children will take that skill of speaking up and use it in school and social situations.
  4. Family bonding: Eating together strengthens families by bringing them closer. Family connections are built and traditions learned. Mealtime will become a familiar routine that your kids will look forward to.

Truly powerful stuff, right? Turns out that although people are aware of these benefits, many families find it difficult to make family meals a reality. Are they a challenge for you?

Next posts: The “How” and “Why” of Family Meals

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