It is so easy not to eat as a family these days with how busy our lives have become. One parent may get home from work after the kids’ dinner time, there may be an endless list of tasks that need to be completed before bedtime. Whatever the case may be, research shows that if you can sit down as a family (even with one other family member present) there will be a range of nutritional and non-nutritional benefits for children and adolescents for doing so.
- Better food and nutrient intake.
- Decreased risk for being above their most healthy body weight.
- Protective effect against eating disorders in adolescents, especially girls.
- Lower risk for substance abuse and have better social adjustment, eg. fewer fights, decreased early sexual activity.
- Have better school performance.
- As eating dinner together with all or most of the family increases in frequency, so do external assets such as family support, boundaries and expectations, as well as older children’s and adolescents’ internal assets such as having a positive view of personal future and being motivated and engaged in school.
- Mealtime conversations with preschool children correlated with better vocabulary at age five compared to conversations during play or book reading.
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