by A. Grano on October 7th, 2010 at 7:00 am
In today’s fast-paced society, the family dinner has become almost as obsolete as the traditional nuclear family. However, a recent survey showed that kids who regularly eat meals with their parents (with minimal distractions like cell phones or TV) had a more positive outlook, higher self-esteem, and lower rates of childhood depression and eating disorders. In addition, the adults also benefited, reporting higher overall life satisfaction.
The family that eats together, stays together
The survey explained that the psychological benefits derived from mealtime were greatly attributed to the camaraderie the bonding ritual presented, from releasing the stress and tension of the day by slowing down and unwinding to sharing meaningful conversation in a safe, non-judgmental haven. Getting the kids involved in meal preparation was shown to enhance the positive effects.
While not everyone has the time to have a sit-down meal every night, making the most of what you can do is a start. Aim for at least three nights a week to start, and require everyone to attend “unplugged”.
Family-free? Every effort counts
For those without kids or family nearby, beginning a regular dinner meet up with friends and neighbors may provide some of the same health benefits, as strong friendships have been proven to foster wellness.