Community Magazine

Family Dinner: Let's Eat Together

By Refriedhippie @Refried_Hippie

Family Dinner: Let's Eat Together

Accepted in EVERY culture.

Family dinner, a memento of the 1950's. What happened to the time when we come together around a great meal and enjoy the company of our children and our parents? These days, parents are too busy to cook dinner. Moms are working late and fathers still don't know their way around the kitchen. With a decline in family dinner time, it's important to remember the benefits of eating together and what we are missing out on.
It’s hard to overlook the overwhelming research on the positive effects of family dinners on children’s diet, social development, and sense of connection with their parents and siblings.

When a family eats dinner together they are able to bond in a way that only dinner allows. Maybe it's the privacy, maybe it's just a routine; either way family diners allow for open communication and education. Traditionally, dinner is a time to discuss the events of the day. Children offer up stories from school and parents have a chance to give feedback and guidance. Teenagers are often going through a difficult transition period. Family meal time allows parents to stay informed on what their teenagers are going through. To help encourage their good decisions while guiding them away from any harmful ones. With younger children, dinner is a time for learning healthy eating habits and table manners. Offering small children different food options allow them to grow into well rounded healthy eaters.
Compared to teens who eat family dinners 5 to 7 days per week, those who only eat family dinners fewer than 3 per week are:
  • Nearly twice as likely to use alcohol
  • Twice as likely to use tobacco
  • One and a half times more likely to use marijuana
Conversations at dinner can be easier than you think. A lot of people, including parents, have trouble holding a conversation. Especially one of merit. But it's really a lot easier that you think. Start by talking about how your day went. What were some of the highs and some of the lows of the day? Talk about your favorite foods. These simple tips are great for younger children. For older children and teenagers, the same questions can be applied, but consider getting a little deeper. Ask about their grades in school or about their crush. It's easy to communicate when you start by asking questions.

Family Dinner: Let's Eat Together

Boys and Girls can Cook

Family dinner can also be a great time to get your children involved. Ask the younger ones to set the table or fix drinks. Older children can have a hand in helping to make dinner. Both boys and girls should be introduced to the stove and taught how to make different types of food. Food is for everyone, not just females. These chores are a healthy part of raising children with initiative. Teaching them that we work together as a family is nearly as important as the topics of conversation.
Here are some tips to help encourage happy family dinners:
  • Turn off the TV and all other electric devices. This includes phones.
  • Teach your small children about different foods. Fix foods with different colors and textures.
  • Give your children dinner time chores.
  • If both parents can't attend dinner, one parent will be just fine.
  • Allow your children to invite their friends over for dinner. This will open up new topics.
  • If you can't cook 7 nights a week, do it as often as possible.
  • Even after the children have become adults and moved out, it's still nice to eat together once in a while.


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