Eat Dinner as a Family

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"I'm starving over here Mom. Is dinner ready yet?"

You should eat dinner with your kids.

Funny how something that sounds so simple and sensible can be so hard to do in real life.

Dinner time is a struggle for all families (at least all of the families that I know). Between busy schedules and picky eaters, it isn't easy for families to sit down and actually eat a meal together every night (or any night).

First there is the task of preparing a meal that everyone in the family
will eat. One kid doesn't like meat. Another is allergic to dairy. Your
husband hates carbs.

Then
there is the issue of time. Even finding the time to make it to the grocery
store to procure the necessary ingredients can sometimes be tough. After work, soccer practice, and errands, it is after 5:00 pm before you even set foot in your house at the end of the day. The kids are hungry and
cranky. You are exhausted and the thought of roasting a chicken makes
you want to cry. You've got to get something on the table because your
son has an hour of homework do to before bed. Sometimes it seems like a
Herculean task to simply fulfill your family's daily nutritional needs.

Monday, September 28th is Family Dinner Night.
The purpose of this initiative is to draw attention to the benefits of
eating together. The experts are adamant that families who regularly
eat meals together have kids who are less likely to struggle with
substance abuse issues, depression and eating disorders. Kids who sit
down to dinner with their parents (or even just one parent) are more
likely to do well in school and eat their veggies.

Personally, I think
that it is impossible to measure the value of the opportunity to regularly
say to your child, "So how was your day today?" Parents don't need
research data to know that it is simply a good thing to do.

I
don't mean to suggest that a taco dinner is going to prevent your kid
from smoking pot or getting pregnant at her senior prom. But amidst all
of the McDonald's drive-thrus, multitasking and microwavable
meals-in-a-bowl, the decision to sit together as a family and eat real
food while conversing with real people feels almost like a form of
peaceful social protest. The daily ritual of stopping to share food is
also a daily opportunity to look around and recognize, "This is what is important to me."

So what's on the menu at your house for Monday?

Comments

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  • We eat together nearly every single night. It means that we feed our kids so late they go straight from the dinner table to bed, but it's worth it. I think learning to behave during a communal meal is one of the most civilizing things they can learn. And mine could use all the civilizing things they can get.

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