The Importance of Family Dinner
Some say that everything you need to learn, you learn in kindergarten. However, recent studies by CASA (National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University ) suggest that another place where important learning happens is at the dinner table!
CASA has been promoting “Family Day: A day to eat dinner with your children” since 2001, and they have been publishing annual reports named “The Importance of Family Dinners” since 2005 (the current report will be released Monday 9/23 is known as “The Importance of Family Dinners IX”) Consistently over the years, their research has supported the idea that families who eat dinner together frequently show a whole host of benefits as compared to families who seldom eat together.
Some of the important benefits looked at in the 2012 report were to see the quality of relationship between teens and their parents and how much parents know about what’s going on in their children’s lives, as related to how many times families eat together. Not surprisingly families who eat together showed better relationships between parents and teens, and better family functioning overall.
That report points out that the “magic” that happens at the table is less related to what’s for dinner as it is about the conversations and the family’s ability to connect with one another.
Some other benefits that have been linked to more frequent family dinners are:
· Reduced stress for parents
· Reduced stress for children and reduced signs of depression
· Parents can model healthy eating habits
· Children are more likely to eat healthier fruits and vegetables and eat less junk food
· Lower obesity rate
· Better grades and language skills
· Reduced likelihood of engaging in risky behaviors and using drugs or alcohol
For the past 11 years, CASA has been celebrating “Family Day” on the last Monday of September. In coordination with this national effort several restaurants in town are offering discounted meals, including: Ancona’s Market, Dimitris Diner, 50 Coins, Piccolo’s Pizza & Jazzeria, Subway on Bailey Ave, Swizzle, Tom Toms & Village Deli please see the attached flier for more details.
On October 18th, the Rec Center will also be offering a free Family Dinner with family activities from 6-8. Dinner will be pasta and meatballs provided by the Lions Club. RCCASA partner the Boys and Girls Club will also be offering a future Family Dinner focused event.
So whether you plan to join one of the upcoming events, eat out at your favorite restaurant or dine in, do it with your family! And know that the time you spend around the dinner table is often as important in the development of your kids as the time you or they spend sitting at your desks.
Dinner makes a difference!
A nice family dinner fact sheet: http://www.cfs.purdue.edu/cff/documents/promoting_meals/spellsuccessfactsheet.pdf