Studies show that families who eat dinner together benefit in a variety of ways. Eating together helps families achieve better communication and build stronger relationships, children do better in school and are better adjusted as teens and adults, and the entire family enjoys better nutrition.
Researchers have found that when families eat dinner together that they “consume more vegetables, fruit and juice, and less soda.” Children who eat dinner as a family eat less fatty foods and receive higher amounts of fiber, minerals, and vitamins essential to the body. A Harvard study found “that children who ate family dinners more frequently had more healthy eating habits” overall, even when not at home. Parents do need to be careful that they don’t use food as a reward, punishment, or require their child to eat everything on their plate. Children usually eat what they need and forcing them to eat more can cause problems. Parents should not provide food as a way to calm their child when she is upset or hurt. These practices can cause eating disorders.
Click here for a Focus on the Family radio program, “The Importance of Family Dinners.”