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Why Dinnertime Should be Family Time
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About the Author

Jim Burns is President of HomeWord and has written books for parents, youth workers, and students. Jim and his wife, Cathy, and their daughters Christy, Rebecca, and Heidi, live in Southern California. Visit HomeWord.


Why Dinnertime Should Be Family Time

By Jim Burns

CBN.comI’m happy to announce that over the past few years, more and more families are making the intentional effort to have regular, family-mealtimes.  Here are seven reasons why doing so is a great idea:

1. Kids who live in families that eat dinner together regularly are less likely to be involved in at risk behaviors.  According to the 2000 study done by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA), children who don't eat dinner with their families are 61 percent more likely to use alcohol, tobacco, or illegal drugs. By contrast, children who eat dinner with their families every night of the week are 20 percent less likely to drink, smoke, or use illegal drugs.

2. Families who eat dinner together regularly are more likely to have stronger, happier family relationships.  As families struggle to find amounts of quantity and quality time together, family dinnertime provides the opportunity for both.  When families hang out together and communicate, they grow strong and healthy.

3. Families who eat dinner regularly develop a stronger family identity.  Eating together serves to build a family identity.  Additionally, this family “routine” provides a sense of stability and security that provides kids with a positive environment where they can grow into healthy adults.

4. Families who eat dinner together regularly can keep in touch with each others’ lives.  Everyone – kids and parents alike – can keep up-to-date during your family dinnertime on what is going on with school, jobs, family life, and friends.

5. A regular family dinnertime provides natural opportunities for planning and problem solving.  Scheduling family meeting times to discuss planning, needs, and problem solving can be difficult.  A regular family mealtime can offer a natural solution to the challenge.

6. Eating dinner regularly fosters learning.  When families who eat dinner together engage in a variety of conversation topics, learning is encouraged.  Kids who are exposed to regular family discussion times learn a broader vocabulary.

7. Kids are likely to receive better nutrition when eating dinner regularly with their families.  A simple, but true rule applies: when kids eat with their families, they eat better.  A family dinnertime means kids are more likely to eat a nutritionally balanced meal, lower in sugar and fat content, than if they prepare or purchase meals on their own.

Printed by permission of HomeWord.  For additional information on HomeWord, visit or call 800-397-9725.


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