Family Times

last year
65 in steem

How many of us still have time to enjoy our families? Did you sit down for a family meal yesterday? How much time do we all get to enjoy our family?

During the early and mid-20th century, when two-parent nuclear families were the norm in middle-class America, family dinners at home were a common evening ritual. When dad came home after a hard day's work, mum would have dinner waiting for him. Kids might have after-school activities, but were usually required to be home in time for dinner. In the 21st century, family dinners are more of an evening rarity.

According to the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics data, 78% of women with children between the ages of 6 and 17 work outside the home. Figures from the 2000 Census show that 31% of households with children are single-parent families, up from 13% in 1970. Kids take part in more after-school activities than ever, and many parents have to go straight from work to soccer practice, piano lessons, or car pools. There simply isn't much time available for cooking, and eating is often done on the run.

Data from a December 2003 Gallup Poll* confirm that having dinner together in the evening is difficult for today's families. Slightly more than a quarter (28%) of adults with children under the age of 18 report that their families eat dinner together at home seven nights a week -- down from 37% in 1997. Almost half (47%) of parents say their families eat together between four and six times a week. Another quarter (24%) say they eat together three or fewer nights a week.

In December 2003, Gallup also asked parents in Canada and Great Britain** how often their families eat together each week. Both Canadian and British parents are more likely than American parents to say that their families have dinner at home every night; 40% of Canadian parents say so, as do 38% of British parents.

Also, dinnertime might be one of the few opportunities during the day that parents get to talk with their children about what's happening in their lives. All parents want to know what's going on with their children, but a 2003 study by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University suggests that family dinners can have some concrete benefits for teenagers. The study found that teens who have dinner with their families two nights a week or less are twice as likely to take drugs, more likely to be "high stress," more likely to say they are often bored, and less likely to perform well in school than teens who eat with their families 5 to 7 times a week.

There's no question that many families in the United States (as well as in Canada and Great Britain) do not eat dinner together as often as they should. But the news could certainly be worse. Three-fourths (75%) of U.S. parents say that their families have dinner at home at least four nights a week, as do 80% of Canadian parents and 69% of British parents. In a world as busy as ours, that may be the most today's parents can ask for.

So here we are in 2016 and things aren't improving; think back to a family era where the family meal was the most important meal of the day. For starters, researchers found that for young children, dinnertime conversation boosts vocabulary even more than being read aloud to. The researchers counted the number of rare words – those not found on a list of 3,000 most common words – that the families used during dinner conversation. Young kids learned 1,000 rare words at the dinner table, compared to only 143 from parents reading storybooks aloud. Kids who have a large vocabulary read earlier and more easily.

Older children also reap intellectual benefits from family dinners. For school-age youngsters, regular mealtime is an even more powerful predictor of high achievement scores than time spent in school, doing homework, playing sports or doing art.

Other researchers reported a consistent association between family dinner frequency and teen academic performance. Adolescents who ate family meals five to seven times a week were twice as likely to get A’s in school as those who ate dinner with their families fewer than two times a week.

For starters, researchers found that for young children, dinnertime conversation boosts vocabulary even more than being read aloud to. The researchers counted the number of rare words – those not found on a list of 3,000 most common words – that the families used during dinner conversation. Young kids learned 1,000 rare words at the dinner table, compared to only 143 from parents reading storybooks aloud. Kids who have a large vocabulary read earlier and more easily.

Older children also reap intellectual benefits from family dinners. For school-age youngsters, regular mealtime is an even more powerful predictor of high achievement scores than time spent in school, doing homework, playing sports or doing art.

Other researchers reported a consistent association between family dinner frequency and teen academic performance. Adolescents who ate family meals five to seven times a week were twice as likely to get A’s in school as those who ate dinner with their families fewer than two times a week.

Does a body good

Children who eat regular family dinners also consume more fruits, vegetables, vitamins and micronutrients, as well as fewer fried foods and soft drinks. And the nutritional benefits keep paying dividends even after kids grow up: young adults who ate regular family meals as teens are less likely to be obese and more likely to eat healthily once they live on their own.

Some research has even found a connection between regular family dinners and the reduction of symptoms in medical disorders, such as asthma. The benefit might be due to two possible byproducts of a shared family meal: lower anxiety and the chance to check in about a child’s medication compliance.

It isn’t just the presence of healthy foods that leads to all these benefits. The dinner atmosphere is also important. Parents need to be warm and engaged, rather than controlling and restrictive, to encourage healthy eating in their children.

I realise this is a bold quote, but I wonder if society would improve if we all encouraged a return to family values? After all, have we forgotten the simplest but important things in life?

*Results are based on telephone interviews with 331 American adults, aged 18 and older, with children under age 18, conducted Dec. 11-14, 2003. For results based on this sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the margin of sampling error is ±6 percentage points.

**Results based on telephone interviews with 348 adults with children in Canada, conducted Dec. 5-11, 2003, and telephone interviews with 328 adults with children in Great Britain, conducted Dec. 2-21, 2003. For results based on these samples, one can say with 95% confidence that the margin of sampling error is ±6 percentage points.

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53
  ·  last year

Our family walk around in other people yards looking for Pokemon Go.

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65
  ·  last year

Excellent, family is important!! 😎