These days, getting the whole family around the table at the same time can require the scheduling prowess of an air traffic controller. With work, meetings, and after-school activities, sitting down to a family dinner can seem impossible. But it's not -- and it's definitely worth the effort, because breaking bread together can benefit the entire family. Here's how:
- According to researchers at Syracuse University, family routines such as eating dinner together nightly are associated with happier marriages, improved children's health, and stronger family ties.
- Family meals are the perfect time to teach kids good manners and to model appropriate table etiquette. Sharing pleasant conversation around the dinner table can also help improve a child's social skills.
- Dining together makes for healthier eaters. Kids who regularly eat with their families tend to have healthier eating patterns. They consume more fruits and vegetables and fewer fried foods, sodas, and saturated fat than kids who don't share family meals, says the American Dietetic Association.