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A Family That Eats Together Stays Together

By Mr Pinpoint | Thu , Oct 20th , 2022

From the time they drag their feet out the door until they lay their sleepy heads down at night, kids are on the move. Getting them to stop long enough to have a conversation may seem impossible, but we have a secret weapon for capturing their attention…mealtime!

Eating together goes beyond the food we eat. The number one benefit of sitting down and eating as a family is the time it affords you to connect with one another– to have meaningful conversations that go beyond homework, chores and schedules. Plus, sharing a meal together brings a lot of other benefits:

  • Better grades: A study done at the National Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse found that children who ate with their families 5 to 7 times per week did much better in school versus those who ate with their families 3 or fewer times per week.
  • Better waistline: The American College of Pediatrics says that eating 3 or more family meals at home per week reduces a child’s chances of being overweight by 12%. Another study at Stanford University found that children who ate with their families had decreased their BMI (Body Mass Index - a good indicator of body fat), and they tended to choose fruits and vegetables for snacks instead of junk food. They also found that children and adolescents who eat with their families three or more times per week have a 35% decreased chance of developing eating disorders.
  • Better speakers/conversationalists: Studies suggest that children of families that regularly eat dinner together are less likely to suffer from anxiety, and more likely to enjoy boosted self-esteem. As a result, kids won’t be afraid to express themselves in front of others when they grow up; a crucial skill at work as well.
  • Better viewpoints: Dining with grandparents and parents serves as a bridge from generation to another, Kids engaged in a conversation about any life problem will hear and see different opinions from pragmatic people. Something that will make them become better problem solvers in the future.
  • Better mood: Need one last reason to dine as a group? How about the fact that it can flood your body with happy chemicals? Sharing meals with loved ones releases oxytocin (better known as the love hormone). No wonder Psychology Today lists eating together as a top-10 way to boost your feelings.

How to do it?

To get things rolling in your new family dinner routine, try asking simple questions such as, “What was the best part of your day today? If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?”... You can also come up with other creative ways to do it, like having each family member come up with interesting questions and write them on index cards. Combine all the cards, and each night select a question that everyone at the table answers!

Family dinners can extend beyond the actual meal. Having the kiddos help plan, shop and cook from time to time is a great way to bond while teaching them important life skills. Clean up is also important. They may complain, but in truth, responsibilities give children a sense of belonging. Kids learn to love the mealtime ritual and start to count on it. Remember, a family that eats together stays together!