In our busy lives, dinner is often the only time when families can connect. Research shows children that eat regular meals with their family have:
• Better academic performance
• Higher self-esteem
• Greater sense of resilience
• Lower risk of substance abuse
• Lower risk of teen pregnancy
• Lower risk of depression
• Lower likelihood of developing eating disorders
• Lower rates of obesity
According to The Family Dinner Project (thefamilydinnerproject.org), family meal times should be about food, fun, and conversation about things that matter. They have many resources for families, including a guide to healthy recipes, dinner activities, and conversation starters. Here are a few of their conversation starters:
• Name three things that are fun for you.
• Who is your favorite storybook character?What do you imagine he or she feels thankful for?
• What is the one thing you couldn’t live without?
Unplug during your family dinners to limit distractions. No phones, no TV, nothing! Focus on one another and make the moments together meaningful.