Around the Dinner Table: Putting Family First

african family enjoying a healthy meal togetherBetween parents and kids’ hectic schedules, social commitments, social media and smart phone/technology overload, today it’s harder than ever to stay connected to our immediate family.

Did you know that research suggests that having dinner together as a family at least four times a week has positive effects on child development? In fact, family dinner has been linked to a lower risk of obesity, substance abuse, eating disorders, and is also tied to increased success in school.

Why family dinner?

The benefits to parents and kids are endless. For example, family dinner:

  • Provides the opportunity for all family members to engage in conversation. Such conversation encourages children to listen and can voice his/her own opinion.
  • Helps to keep everyone in the loop. During dinner, there is opportunity to share the day’s hits or misses. Everyone can contribute ideas, offer support, or share in the excitement.
  • Helps children feel secure. Sitting down together routinely helps to foster a sense of security and togetherness and it can help nurture children into healthy, well-rounded adults.
  • Encourages healthy eating habits. It also gives children the opportunity to try new foods and expand his/her palette.

Overall, it might be tough to eat together every night, but making time for it most of the week is wise. So, turn the TV off, have a no phone rule during dinner and enjoy one another’s company.

Other ways to enjoy time as a family.

When it comes to staying in touch and keeping communication open, simple is often best. Here are ten other ideas to help you stay connected as a family:

  1. Take a walk or exercise together.
  2. Pray together.
  3. Cook with your kids.
  4. Read to your children every night.
  5. Watch an age appropriate TV show together as a family.
  6. Leave notes in your kid’s lunchboxes.
  7. Have a designated family game night.
  8. Set out a jigsaw puzzle for the family to work on.
  9. Visit elderly grandparents together on the weekend.
  10. Find and invest time into a hobby or interest you have in common. Or even better, volunteer!

We hope you enjoy these ideas. If you have any more suggestions or ideas that work for your family and would like to share them, please comment on this post. We look forward to sharing your ideas with our St. Cecelia School community.

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