Working with teens and their parents, I often hear from the teens that their parents don’t listen and I hear from the parents that their teens won’t talk to them. Want a great solution for this? Family Dinner!
Family Dinner is the perfect time to sit together as a family and share your day with each other. Sharing dinner together promotes a feeling of family togetherness and bonding and will make your teen more likely to open up about their life. Your teens are much more likely to open up about school, friends, activities and problems they are having if you are sitting down sharing a meal.
Need more reasons? Here are some more great reasons that sitting down to dinner as a family is so important:
1 – Eating dinner together as a family has shown to correlate with lower alcohol use reported by teens in the Utah Sharps report for 2011. That’s right, local the more often the family eats dinner together, the less often teens report drinking. Check out the following graph that shows a direct correlation between family meals and lowering alcohol use.
2 – It helps your kids to get better grades! Children who eat regularly with their parents are 40 percent more likely to earn higher grades in school than children who have less frequent family’s meals together according to a 10-year study by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.
3 – It promotes good health. Teens that eat with their families tend to eat a healthier diet and are less likely to be obese.
6 Helpful Tips to Have Dinner Together as a Family
- 1 – Set a goal. Three times a week perhaps. Go from there. The goal is to get everyone together sitting around a table.
- 2 – Plan meals ahead of time to get everyone involved. Have a family meeting once a week and have everyone help in planning the dinner menu for the week. Post a copy of the weekly menu in the kitchen on a chalk or white board. Make sure all of the ingredients are available in the house. This also helps to avoid the dreaded “What’s for dinner?”
- 3 – Have you children help in preparing dinner. They will be more likely to eat if they have helped to plan, shop for and prepare the food.
- 4 – Have a “No Electronics” rule for everyone to help promote talking and bonding time. This means no video games, TV, iPods or cell phones (parents too)! Do everything you can to help minimize distractions so you can focus on talking with each other.
- 5 – Be flexible. If family work or activity schedules make dinner difficult, plan family breakfast or lunch a couple of times a week. The important thing is you are sharing time together.
- 6 – Last, keep it positive. Spend this time enjoying each other’s company and sharing the day’s story’s.