Shared Meals, Stronger Bonds
Reap the Benefits of Sharing Meals with Family!

Who knew something as simple as eating one family meal a day together could be the ultimate hack to stronger and better bonds between families? 

Extensive research has been done on the numerous benefits of eating a family meal together. And when I say family meal, I mean no screens, no distractions, no couch. To reap the benefits of this, you all need to sit around a table together and have conversations! Sitting around a table to enjoy a nightly meal as a family is good for the brain, mind, body and spirit. 

Improve Literacy Development

According to researchers, family conversations at dinner time improve the vocabulary and literacy development in young children. The research found that young kids learned a significantly higher amount of less-commonly used words when engaging in conversations at dinner time than they do from parents solely reading children’s books out loud. 

Support High Achievement Scores

Having conversations at dinner not only helps children just learning to speak, but highly affects teenagers as well. Studies show that families that eat together at least 5-7 times a week are more likely to get A’s in school than those that eat with their families fewer than twice a week. Teens are also likely to be more engaging with parents which reduces the chances of marijuana, alcohol and tobacco use. 

Boost Mental Health and Self-Esteem 

Eating together as a family regularly boosts the self-esteem of kids, teens and even parents! According to the American College of Pediatrics, an increase in family dinners shows a decrease in teenage depression, and behavioral problems and a better relationship with parents; feeling more comfortable opening up about struggles and issues. Depression rates among parents also decreased as a result of frequent dinners. 

Overall, implementing a routine family dinner elevates relationships between family members, improves educational and mental health development and uplifts a family.

Nutrition Improvement

If you are struggling with meal ideas, don’t worry– it doesn’t have to be anything fancy.  We have many recipes on our website as well as easy family meal ideas on our parenthood page if you are feeling lost or too busy to meal plan! Children who regularly eat with their parents are less likely to form disordered eating or be picky eaters, and both parents and children are more likely to eat a balanced and nutritious diet, according to researchers.

The important thing to remember is NO DISTRACTIONS and ENGAGE with your family. This means no phones, no music, no TV. Talk about your days, let the conversation flow and reap the benefits. 

More information can be found at:

acpeds.org/position-statements/the-benefits-of-the-family-table 

thefamilydinnerproject.org/about-us/benefits-of-family-dinners/ 

www.parents.com/recipes/tips/unexpected-benefits-of-eating-together-as-a-family-according-to-science/

About Author

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Sophia is interning this summer for RWM. She is studying journalism and English at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, where she will graduate in December.

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