The Benefits to Family Dinners
According to the website The Family Dinner Project, there are physical, mental and emotional rewards to sitting down to at least one meal a day as a family. Some of these rewards include better academic performance, higher self-esteem, lower risk of substance abuse, teen pregnancy, and depression. All issues we as parents can be concerned with.
Another benefit to having family dinners is the conversation. It can be hilarious and many times, enlightening. We usually ask what the best part of our kids day was. The answers can be very entertaining. Children have wonderful perspectives on life and when you ask them a simple question, like, "what was the best part of your day?" The answer usually leads to a story, whether true or not.
The enlightening part is finding out how much personal information your kid tell people. When we were newly pregnant with out latest bun in the oven, not ready to tell the world I asked my oldest son at dinner:
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Me: “Munchkin, have you told anyone you are going to be a big brother again?”
My son: “No... But I did tell, two kids in library class that you had something in your belly, but I didn’t tell them it was a baby.”
We try to make the dinner table a supportive environment, we listen to one another's experiences and stories from the day. As the kids grow and experience life, they are exposed conversations about the ups and downs in life, which hopefully teach them to cope with their ups and downs. The dinner table also is a great place to teach them manners. Not speaking with food in your mouth, elbows off the table, asking to be excused from the table and clearing their own plate are all manners we try and instill in our children.
With all the informational stimulus available at our fingertips, dinner conversation grounds to me. We remove electronics from the table, so the only entertainment available is each other which brings our attention back to what matters, family.