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The Importance of Family Meals - How important is family dinner?

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 The Importance of Family Meals

What has happened to us? There once was a time when we would all come home from school or work and sit down with every member of our family for dinner. It was the one fabulous meal of the day that offered all the major food groups along with a dessert (if you were lucky or it was Sunday!)

Today, less than half of American families eat dinner together and when they do the meals last less than 20 minutes. The fact is our life styles have changed from those magical days of Ozzie and Harriet. Thanks to the Internet, cell phones and palm pilots, business is conducted on an almost 24/7 basis. Sporting events and outside activities for children have become almost maniacal in the demands made upon the family. It has become a race against time so that we can fit it all in. Something has to give, and that unfortunately has been the family dinner.

When we squeeze out the family dinner we sacrifice more than you could ever imagine. According to a study conducted by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, the children that dined regularly with their families were 31 per cent less likely to smoke, drink or take drugs.

Not only is the family dinner a great time to catch up on each other's lives it also offers more tangible benefits. In a recent Washington Post article by Mary Beth McCauley, she points out that the family dinner "can enhance academic achievement and promote a better vocabulary." (McCauley, 2003). She goes on to share that especially in troublesome times the routine of a family meal helps to ease tensions. Something to keep in mind given the post 9/11 world we live in.

Planning these meals, shopping for the ingredients, and to a lesser extent cooking the dinners, is a time consuming task. In many cases, time needed for both professional careers and for the children's extra-curricular activities make it nearly impossible to coordinate the family dinner. However, now more than ever, it is important to invest this time.  The dividends are worth the effort. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 







    Importance of family meals