While you may not fully realize it, if your family is regularly eating meals on the go, you could be putting your children at risk for obesity. The importance of family dinners is relatively jarring if you know what you are up against. Statistics show that nearly one in five children aged 6 to 19 in the U.S. are overweight. That puts them at higher risk for many health problems later in life, including heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes, as well as emotional issues and concerns.
There are several benefits to having family at the dinner table together. First, everyone eats healthier meals. If you take the time to sit down and prepare food, you are able to monitor what both you, and your family members are putting into their body. Your kids are less likely to become overweight or obese, and you are able to set a positive example.
Studies show that children who regularly interact with their parents, whether it be through family dinner games, or family dinner conversation, are less likely to drink alcohol, try marijuana, and have better grades in school, as they are more emotionally stable and connected to the adults in their life.
Family dinner games and conversation also offers less tension in the home, and allows you to interact with your children on a level that does not involve rushing them out the door or making them do their homework. You get a chance to hear about each others’ day, and if you are playing family dinner games, have a bit of fun and unwind.
If this sounds daunting to you, set a few goals in minds for family dinner and family dinner games. Maybe begin with a goal of twice a week. Of course, every family is different, and has different obligations, so it may not be possible to do this every day. Be prepared. Keep ingredients for healthful meals on hand, including plenty of fruits and vegetables, and finally, no TV allowed, no phones answered! This is time for listening to each other, sharing the day’s stories, and nurturing the family connection.