According to a report from the Institute of Family Studies, having dinner as a family is an important part of a family routine. Shared meals are a time to bond, talk together, and give children a chance to process the day.
Research suggests family dinner is connected to a host of positive child outcomes, such as better physical and mental health, stronger parent-child relationships, more developed language skills, and even better grades, and fewer risky and harmful choices for teenagers.
Past research has focused on the frequency of family dinner, with three times per week or more seen as a beneficial level.
But beyond the frequency of family meals, new research shows that the timing of family dinner is related to how parents and children interact throughout the rest of the evening.
Dinner often creates a demarcation in the types of activities families engage in.
Before dinner, children often play and do homework, while parents transition home from work and into preparing food.
After dinner, parent attention on children is generally high as parents engage in more family-oriented activities.
Because dinner initiates family time, parents who start dinner earlier often have more time available in the evening to spend with children before it is time for bed.
© Copyright WLL, INC. 2021. This blog provides a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.