Seven Secret Ways to Improve Dinner With Your Family
June 20, 2006
The traditional family dinner, so engrained in American culture, yet seemingly disappearing from many families' daily routine, is just as important as experts have been saying, according to this Time magazine article -- and it may be making a comeback.
The benefits of eating together as a family were confirmed by a 2005 study from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University. After nearly 10 years of gathering data, researchers found that family dinners get better with practice. Among families who don't eat together often, the food tends to be less healthy, the conversation more sparse and the TV on more of the time.
Among families who do eat together regularly:
They tend to spend more time reading for pleasure and on homework
They experience less tension among family members
Children are more likely to feel their parents are proud of them
Children are 40 percent more likely to get mainly A's and B's in school
Although it may seem like, as a culture, we're busier than ever, it seems the family dinner may be a mainstay: the 2005 CASA study found that 23 percent more adolescents are eating dinner with their families on most nights than they did in 1998.
And if you think your teen might object, consider this: the study found that teens who ate with their family three times or less each week wished their family ate together more often.