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The Family Dinner

One Katy Mom Shares the Benefits of Family Meals

March 25, 2010–Katy, TX — One of my most cherished memories from my childhood is family mealtime.  After a busy day of school, lessons, chores and homework, it was refreshing to pause for a brief moment to connect with each other.  I remember the savory aromas that called to each one of us to come.  Sitting around the dinner table, we laughed, talked and each shared highlights from the day.  To this day my parents, sisters and I remain very close.  I know that some of this closeness is due to our daily connection point…the family meal.  Now that I am married and have a family of my own, I have tried to carry on the tradition of family mealtime.

Scientific studies show there are numerous benefits to family mealtime.  One recent study showed that working parents who were able to eat dinner with their families expressed greater job satisfaction.  Other studies showed that children who have regular family meals eat more healthfully, and get better grades.  Family mealtime is a practice that truly benefits children and parents alike.  In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it is difficult to coordinate schedules and even to find a time when the entire family is home.   So how does a family create a habit of positive family mealtime?

First, make family mealtime a priority.  Set a goal for two or more family meals per week and work to increase the frequency.  Try to plan and schedule around family mealtime.  Though not always an easy task, most days you will find it is possible.

Next, keep it simple.  Family mealtime isn’t so much about eating as it is about the time a family sits and talks together.  It doesn’t matter whether the meal is frozen pizza or an elaborate four course meal, it is simply an excuse to pause and spend time together.  When a sit-down meal isn’t possible on a given day, gather for a bedtime snack instead.

It is important to keep the dinner conversation positive.  Mealtime isn’t a time to discuss weighty or stressful issues.  Nor is it a time to complain about other members of the family.  Mealtime should be an uplifting experience for each family member.

Last, turn off the T.V. and ignore the phone.  For a small moment, all attention should be focused on family.  This is the very magic of family mealtime.

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