By being with them daily… and there’s no more comfortable or natural way to do that than having dinner together each night.
In 1996, we noticed the results of our annual teen survey found that kids who had dinner with their parents every night of the week were far less likely to smoke, drink or use drugs than kids who never had dinner with their parents. The kids who had frequent family dinners also tended to get A’s and B’s in school, were less likely to be stressed out, perpetually bored, or had friends who smoked, drank or used drugs.
Now, 17 years later, these same findings still hold true. This phenomenon has less to do with the food that’s on the plates and more to do with what’s happening at the table. The nightly ritual of a family dinner gives families a relaxed, nourishing context for coming together, connecting and communicating, talking and listening, seeing and hearing. It’s where parental engagement happens.
Parents who dine with their children most every night know where their kids are in the evening and whether their homework has been done. They can get a sense of what’s on their kids’ minds, who their kids’ friends are, what their kids are interested in, and how their moods change.
The nightly family dinner gives parents an opportunity to talk to their children on a regular basis. And it sends your kids these important messages:
Need to talk about something? I’m here.
Want to ask me something? I’m here.
Want to boast or complain about something? I’m here.
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