In a 2009 CBS News poll of parents with children:
- 74% eat dinner as a family most of the time during the week
- 64% report rarely texting, emailing, or talking on the phone during dinner
- 53% always or sometimes have the television on during dinner
Numerous research studies have emphasized the importance of family dinners. Eating dinner together has many benefits for the entire family, especially children. Just two dinners per week can have the following effects:
- Increase self-esteem and body image
- Decrease risk for juvenile delinquency, substance abuse, eating disorders, and other risk behaviors
- Increase academic achievement
Through communication at the dinner table and increased involvement, parents can expect positive outcomes as a result of family dinners.
Need ideas for your family? Follow these simple tips:
Have a set time for dinner - which gives your family time to prepare and make dinner a priority.
Stick to positive topics - this is not the time to discuss bad grades, broken curfews or dents in the family car. Keep the conversation light and happy.
Involve children in meal preparation - allow kids to help with grocery lists and shopping, chopping fruits and veggies or making a fun dessert.
Turn off distracting devices - t.v., cellphones, mp3 players, and computers should take a nap during dinnertime. The only entertainment needed for family dinners are conversation and family interaction!