I recently did a mini poll on Instagram asking my followers if they still eat dinner as a family at the table, and if so, do they allow electronics. The majority of those that responded said that they do have family dinners at the table. I know in my family, at least 5-6 nights a week, and we sit at the table and eat dinner. The importance of family dinners since being a little girl is something I cherish, and Science backs me up on the benefits & impact of family dinners.
Sitting around the T.V. and talking doesn’t count. At our dinners, we are at the dinner table, and all electronics are off. I encourage my children to tell me about their days, and we talk about just about anything you can imagine.
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So what are the benefits of family dinners for children?
Academic benefits & impact of family dinners
We as parents want to give our children everything they need to perform, and succeed in school, and family dinners tend to help toward that. Teens that participate in family dinners will most likely get better grades in school, and what parent doesn’t want that?
According to www.acpeds.org, teens who have dinner with their families seven times a week are almost 40 percent likelier to say they receive mostly A’s and B’s in school compared to teens who have dinner with their families two times a week.
Other academic benefits and impact of family dinners for other family members are:
Vocabulary and language growth
If you have family dinners, you’ll most likely have family discussions, so this will increase your child’s, especially a toddlers vocabulary. Their language development will benefit from gathering around the dinner table, and just listening to older siblings and parents discuss their day.
I am a big proponent of talking to your baby and/or toddler like I would adults (using pretty much the same language), and a lot of that is done at the dinner table.
Less Screen Time is a big benefit and impact of family dinners
In a world where our lives are dominated by our electronic devices, but people often say they want less screen time for their children. Many of my followers, and I have a rule that no electronics are allowed at the dinner table. Your teen, and your toddler will naturally have less screen time when family dinner is a part of their schedule, and having the rule of no electronics helps.
Perhaps my favorite scientific backed benefit of family dinners is improved family relations. This isn’t such a big deal when your children are smaller, but when they grow expecting it is great.
family relations will improve.
You want your children to have an excellent and trusting relationship with you, start with family dinners. I like to believe that my teen enjoys family meal time at the table. Partly because of the family interactions, and the impact on their relationship.
Reasons you may not have family dinner:
Being a single parent, or a busy parent, you might find it hard to find time to have family meals. May I recommend my Time Management courses to help you find time to include family meals in your daily routine.
Finding things to cook might be an issue, and can be tough. I have several recipes that are quick, simple and nutritious that you can make. It’s no coincidence that eating meals as a family will help you and your family make better nutrition decisions.
Family dinners may not be the only impact or the magic solution to your child’s and/or teens growth and development. But I can say it has helped in my children’s success, and their decision making. If you want your children to have these same benefits, give family dinners a try.