Sunday, January 29, 2012

If you do one thing this week...

Sit down and eat dinner as a family.

Life is busy. We get it. But this is important. Studies have shown that kids who eat dinner with their families do better in school, feel more socially connected to their parents, have better peer relationships, and are less likely to try drugs and alcohol," says Grace R. Freedman, Ph. D., executive director of eat, a nonprofit dedicated to increasing awareness of the benefits of family meals. "Research also suggests that working parents feel like they're better at balancing their work and personal lives when they find time for family dinner, and families that eat together tend to have healthier diets.

Sadly, a 2010 Pew Research poll showed that only about half of families make dinner a daily ritual, and roughly one in five families eat together only occasionally, or never. The bottom line: Work as a team, make a commitment, start small, and don't get discouraged. Do it once this week. Try two times the next. It's worth coordinating and making time to do.

But don't just go through the motions. Actually engage in thoughtful conversation with them. Ask them questions in a non-threatening way. Encourage them to talk about what they are looking forward to, what made them discouraged. Genuinely ask them about their highs and lows were of the day. What their goals are for the week. You'll notice the benefits immediately. Nothing is more important than family so make time. You have the time.

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