The research is shared often: kids who eat family meals together are more likely to do well in school, make healthier choices, feel more connected with their families, sense that their parents are proud of them, and have a more positive outlook on life. In their book The Hour that Matters Most, Les and Leslie Parrot state:
Study after study shows that the more often families eat together, the less likely the kids are to smoke, drink, do drugs, get depressed, develop eating disorders, become overweight, and consider suicide.
Those are the studies, but here is the reality: eating together as a family is challenging!
Between busy schedules, cranky kids, and exhausted families, flipping on the TV or feeding the kids before sitting down as a couple is often easier than establishing a regular time of eating together as a family.
In our home, my husband's work schedule changes from week to week, and we have a new baby. As a result, regular mealtimes are a challenge for us!
Even so, we are working hard to establish regular mealtimes together as a family.
There are definitely days, though, when I am overwhelmed by the work of preparing or maintaining family meals and I wonder if it's worth the effort, so I wrote this list detailing why family meals are important, and what I hope our family gains through the effort.
Family Mealtimes Nurture Conversation and Relationship
I remember my husband sharing about a conversation he had with a co-worker whose kids are grown. She told how one of their family's favorite things to do, even now that her kids are adults, is to sit at the dinner table and have long conversations together as a family. She went on to say that her kids weren’t naturally inclined to just sit and talk (shocker, right?!). Developing that pattern was something they worked at from the time the kids were little.
[Read the rest of the article at For the Family.]