Life is busy and there are so many important things to juggle as a mom, it’s hard to know what’s really critical to focus on. We all want the best for our kids; there’s no doubt about that.
I’m sure there isn’t a parent reading this who wouldn’t agree that she’d do whatever it takes to help her kids turn out well.
But wait. What happens when there’s 1,000 different things “they” say you should be doing? How to you sort through and figure out what is really going to make a difference?
Having a healthy dinner and family mealtime most nights is one of the most difficult tasks on the long lists of things we “should” do, so how do we know if it’s worth it? Well, let’s take a look at what the research tells us.
What the Research Says about Family Mealtimes
- Kids who have frequent family meals with their parents have a decreased risk of smoking, drinking or other drug use. (source)
- Teens who have frequent family dinners are more likely to have high-quality relationships with their parents. (source)
- Children who take part in family meals are less likely to be overweight. (source)
- Children who take part in family meals have higher academic achievement. (source)
- Family meals contribute to children with improved psychological well-being. (source)
- Kids who have frequent family meals are less likely to be delinquent. (source)
- Family dinners correlate positively with better family relations. (source)
- Children and teens who have frequent family meals are more likely to eat healthy foods. (source)
Okay, so the research is clear. Family meals are a big deal. They are worth the effort.
Even if your family’s schedule makes it difficult to have a family meal time together, it’s worth the effort to make it work at least some of the time.
If you aren’t in the habit of having family meals together, start with a goal of 1-2 nights a week. Build from there. Before you know it, it’ll be a habit that you and your kids will appreciate.
When I think about the times our entire family sits down and does something all together, if it weren’t for family dinners, it wouldn’t happen all that often.
Instead, nearly every night we have 20-30 minutes of family time. The four of us are sitting at the table together, focused on each other. We talk. We connect. I can see why all this research points to such positive outcomes.
But what about the “healthy” part? Is that important, too?
I think you know how I feel about that.
Making healthy eating a priority when your kids are young sets them up for a lifetime of healthy habits. Just like we pass down our genetics to our children, we also pass down our lifestyle habits.
Looking at families from generation to generation, eating habits are often the same. Breaking a habit you grew up with is hard. I know. I’ve had to do it.
I grew up eating a lot of processed food. Cutting it out of my diet was not easy and I continue to struggle with cravings for processed foods on occasion.
You are doing your children a great service by cooking them healthy, homemade dinners most nights and having family mealtimes.
But I know it’s hard. Even with healthy, homemade family dinners being a top priority, I’ve had times when I’ve lapsed. That’s exactly why I created the Conquer Dinner eBook.
It’s a step-by-step system for busy people who want to have healthy, homemade dinners and family mealtimes, but just need a little help getting there.
The launch date for Conquer Dinner is quickly approaching. If you want to be the first to know when it’s being released, please join my email list. I only send emails once a week and they are full of great information, inspiration, and motivation, all about healthy living! Sign up below. (It’s FREE to get on my list, of course!)
Without a doubt, one of the best things you can do as a parent to help your child is make healthy, homemade family meals a priority. The research is clear.
In my own family, I see our meal time as some of the most treasured times we have together. It’s when the kids tell us about their days and reveal more than any other time. So to answer the title question, yes, family dinners really are important.