Years ago, it was simply part of the household routine that dinner was eaten together, as a family, every night. Over dinner, you can hear the sounds of laughter, fighting, conversing, and most importantly, attention was lavished on the children.
As times and schedules have changed, so have dinner routines. If they are even routine. If parents are eating with the children, it is usually with one parent on the cell phone and children are rushed in order to get to the next activity.
The Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics recently published a study on the long-term effects of eating together as a family on the children. Researchers found that children who routinely ate their meals together with their families were more likely to experience long-term physical and mental health benefits.
Children were followed from 5 months to age 10. Reports were collected from the parents, children and teachers at 10 years to determine lifestyle habits, psycho-social well-being and cognitive development.
Results of the study showed that by age 10, the children who regularly ate dinner with their families as part of the daily routine consumed less soda, had better social skills, and were less likely to be physically aggressive or delinquent.
Obviously there was much more to this study, but the simple truth is this: Eating together as part of a daily routine, rather than a fun activity once or twice a week is much more than just eating together. It provides your children with significant long-term benefits in all areas of their development including their mental and physical well-being.
The above was copied with permission from an article written by the amazing and brilliant director of Temple Isaiah Preschool, Tamar Andrews.
As we start the new year my friends, let’s all make a resolution together to contribute more to the health of our families, our children, our schools, friendships, relationships and society around us. Whether it’s sitting down for meals together (without iPhones); bringing a healthy treat to your child’s birthday/class Shabbat; or choosing a healthy venue/meaningful activity for birthdays and celebrations. Every little thing adds up to a much healthier year for you, for your family, your friends, our schools; and will inspire people around us to do the same.
Have a healthy and blessed 2018!
Tip for 2018: Eat more meals together.