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Family Mealtimes - Get To Know What's Going On In Your Childs Life

Posted Oct 22 2008 4:37pm
What is dinnertime like in your home?

Is it normal for each family member to heat their own meal in the microwave whenever they are hungry or it's convenient and go off to their own corners of the house?

For many families, eating dinner together has become a lost art—but it proves to be a simple, effective way to reduce the risk of youth substance abuse and to raise healthier children. Before family dinners go the way of the dinosaur, let’s make the effort to preserve family mealtime.

The facts are on the table: eating dinner together every night keeps the doors of communication open. It’s the perfect time and place to reconnect and to show your kids that they are your priority. Sitting across the table is where and when you can find out more about your children’s likes, dislikes, and daily life. Having this information can help you direct your children toward positive activities and behavior, reducing the likelihood that they will get involved with alcohol, tobacco, and/or illegal drugs.

Why Are Family Mealtimes Important?
By eating with your children, it is more likely that meals will be healthier and more balanced.
Compared to teens that have frequent family dinners, those who rarely have family dinners are three-and-a-half times more likely to have abused prescription drugs or an illegal drug other than marijuana.

Girls who have five or more meals a week with their families are one-third less likely to develop unhealthy eating habits, which can range from skipping meals to full-fledged anorexia or abusing diet pills.

Parental influence and involvement is an important tool in preventing substance abuse.

Regularly sitting down for a meal with your children is one way to connect with them and be involved with what is happening in their lives.

Besides, what's more important than our kids? Nothing for me!

Try to make these family meals healthy and ask the kids to help prepare them. Healthy eating starts with the parents. Set an example for your kids.

Sources:
http://family.samhsa.gov/get/mealtime.aspx
American Dietetic Association. Making the Most of Mealtime, last referenced January 31, 2008.
The Importance of Family Dinners IV, The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University, September 2007.

University of Minnesota School of Public Health, Project Eating Among Teens (Project EAT), January 9, 2008.
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