Kids who eat meals with their families are:
- 4 times less likely to smoke.
- 3 times less likely to use marijuana.
- 2 times less likely to drink alcohol.
Studies show that kids from elementary school to high school who ate dinner with their families more than 4 times a week had better test scores. Young children and babies who listened to parents around the table improved their language skills, too.
In addition to limiting TV time and getting enough sleep, kids who eat meals with family members are more confident and stay at a healthy weight.
Tips for Family Meals
Your kids learn from you. Your children watch what you do. At the table, if your kids see you enjoying a healthy meal, they will follow in your footsteps. So choose healthy!
Conversation time. Because everyone gathers together, meal times are the perfect times to sit down and talk as a family. Remember to talk positively, but honestly. Discuss problems at some other place and time.
No electronics. Televisions, phones, tablets, and computers are a real distraction from quality time with the family. Meal times should encourage person-to-person conversation.
Get your family involved. Everyone should be a part of meal time. Let everyone participate in shopping for groceries, cooking, eating, and cleaning up afterwards!
Choices. You shouldn’t have to cook around picky eaters, but you can give kids options between which fruits or vegetables they would like. This will make them more willing to eat what they’ve chosen.
Make the healthy choice, the easy choice. Keep fresh fruit and vegetables on hand and within reach as healthy and delicious snacks. If your family eats healthy, so will your kids.
Enjoy. Food isn’t the only thing to enjoy at meals. Eating meals together helps to improve family connections. Savor every moment and every delicious bite!