Monday February 7, 2011

Power of Family Dinner

Posted by editor

It’s the middle of the week and your son has basketball practice, your daughter has dance class, and you have a P.T.A meeting to get to. When does dinner come in? Making your busy schedules flow is hard enough but is making time for family dinner worth all the trouble? Yes! Many studies have been conducted by social psychologists who are amazed at the tremendous benefits children experience just from sitting down at the table with the family a few times a week to eat dinner.

Benefits

According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance abuse the number of families eating together 5 times a week or more has only gone up 11% in the past 10 years and the children are seeing the affects of it. A number of studies show that children who eat dinner with their families regularly are less likely to get involved with drugs and alcohol than those who do not. They also tend to get better grades, exhibit less stress and eat better. Trying to get the whole family together for 15 or 20 minutes can be quite the juggling act, but it is possible if you decide to make it a priority.

Tips for Cooking

If you do end up getting the family together chances are you probably don’t have much time to cook! Here are a few tips on ways to cut down cooking time…

1.     Plan Ahead- Make your dinner schedule a week in advance so you only have to make one trip to the grocery store for your ingredients. Doing so helps you avoid the temptation to grab fast food on the way home or to avoid making a big meal.  You can also get ideas from your family as to what they would like to eat so they are more excited about family dinners.

2.     Delegate- If your children are old enough and you are too busy to get dinner on the table every night, give a each family member a night to cook. This will help children learn how to cook healthy balanced meals before heading off to college and relieve you of some stress!

3.     Cook Extra- Make a double batch one night and stick half of it in the freezer so you can cut down on your cooking time in the future. Usually doubling a recipe doesn’t take much longer and will give you a chance to pop something in the oven later on in the week when you don’t have much time.

Things to do during dinner…

If you are one of those families that can’t seem to find anything to talk about while sitting down to dinner we have a great source for you! A few mom’s created a list of topics you can talk about while at the dinner table. All you have to do is cut them up and put them in a jar and have someone pick out a slip and get the conversation going. It’s a great way to learn more about your children and let them learn about you! Here are some examples…

* Tell me the five best things about you.

* Which of your friends do you think I like the most? Why?

* What is the most enjoyable thing our family has done together in the last three years?

* What would you do if you were invisible for a day?

Or you can even try a few trivia questions to get their minds going!

* What helps to keep you from crying when you are chopping onions? Chewing gum

* T/F Dalmatians are born without spots? T

* How far can large kangaroos cover with each jump? 30 feet

* A dragonfly has a lifespan of how many hours. 24

Resources:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/05/nyregion/05dinner.html?_r=1&pagewanted=2

http://www.howdoesshe.com/christmas-present-to-our-readers

http://my.streetdirectory.com/food_editorials/meals/dinner_meals/seven_ways_to_save_time_cooking_dinner.html

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