Family Meals and Child Development
Family meals with every one in the family present have been known to have some markedly positive effects on the overall development of a child. The most obvious signs that research had cited are the physical and the emotional aspects: lower risks in obesity, a marked drop in substance abuse and lesser incidence in eating disorders.
The positive effects regarding child development is also clearly displayed as well in the mental side of the equation. It could also be included in the list that children who had family meals with their families have better grades, and had successfully graduated, at least in high school.
Research had also discovered that children who have regular dinners with their father, mother, and their siblings are better equipped in understanding and in acknowledging the agreed-upon parameters and boundaries given by their parents.
With better emotional perspectives, they have stayed away from high-risk behaviors outside the homes. There is a co-relation of this decrease to the amount of time spent with their families.
Getting past the big advantages of having family meals, the other advantage is that shared meals with the family tend to be more on nutrition. One reason given is that the children who have regular family meals are not likely to snack on unhealthy foods.
The kids who took part in regularly-held family dinners are also known to be less likely in engaging unhealthy habits such as smoking and drug use. As later adults, they have been known to have healthier diets.
With familiar conversations, research discovered that this had helped improve the reading abilities of the children (and expand their vocabularies) in all the socio-economic groups. This could be because the dinners let every member of the family have their say about the day’s events outside their circle.
It had also been discovered that the children (aged seven to eleven years) who spent big amounts of time eating their meals with their families did quite well in their achievement tests in their schools.
In another report, preschoolers who also had regular dinners with the members of their family did very well in skills involving language as compared to those who didn’t dine often enough with their families. The idea was that mealtimes with their families had afforded the preschoolers the unique chance of listening and conversing with the rest of their family members.
The occasion of having dinner with the whole family provides one of the most important aspects of family life – communication. Without the distractions of television, computers and phones, parents impart healthy communication values (and habits) to everyone.
In having your children get engaged in the conversation, you can effectively teach the youngsters the art of listening and empathizing. Most important, of course, is that the children are given their chances to say their minds aloud.
The exercise alone allows them to share their voices (and ideas) with everyone in the family. The dinners can help parents recognize early signs of eating disorders or some other issues.
Some people term it today as bonding.