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Family Resolutions for 2016: Sit Down to Family Dinners

Posted on Jan 22, 2016

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We've been sharing some ideas for New Year's resolutions your family can do together in 2016, including getting more physically active and prioritizing family time. Today's family resolution has to do a little with both of them- health and bonding. We're talking about sitting down to a family dinner!

There are so many distractions for kids and adults alike these days, from TV and smartphones to tablets and video games. Add in busy schedules and it's easy to see why fewer and fewer families sit down together at the same time to eat dinner. However, there are some really good reasons to make family dinner a regular habit in your household, including:

Family dinners improve eating habits.

According to researchers, kids who eat family dinner more often are more likely to display healthier eating habits, consuming more fruits and veggies and less fried food and soft drinks, which in turn means they're getting more fiber and nutrients and less fat and sugar. Family dinners can improve adult eating habits too! Sitting down with your kids to eat a home-cooked meal means fewer drive-through dinners, and eating at the table instead of in front of the TV helps you savor the meal and realize when you're full, instead of mindlessly eating without truly enjoying it.

Family dinners keep you connected.

Whether it's with your kids, your significant other, or a friend, breaking bread together is an invitation to open up and spend some time listening to what's going on in each other's lives. By making family dinners a priority, you'll get the opportunity to hear more about your kids' struggles and triumphs. Ask open-ended questions about their school work, friends, sports teams, or extracurricular activities. ("What was your favorite thing you learned at school today and why?" vs. "Did you have a good day at school.")

Family dinners may help your kids have safer teenage years.

A report from The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University has shown that teens who eat dinner with their families 5-7 days per week are less likely to use alcohol or drugs than teens who have family dinners fewer than 3 times per week. Start the habit while they're young and it will become a routine that you all appreciate over the years.

Photo by Unsplash via Pixabay