Time spent together can create bonds and also boost ongoing communication

In a world of busy schedules and extracurricular activities, the traditional idea of family mealtime
may seem unobtainable. Even so, realize that regular family dinners have numerous emotional
and psychological benefits for both children and parents. Research has linked frequent family
meals to increased self-esteem and even a higher GPA in teenagers. Regular mealtime has
also been connected to lower rates of eating disorders, depression, violence, and substance
abuse. Here are some tips for establishing regular meals with your family.

Keep it screen free

Set a rule that televisions, smart phones and other devices must be turned off
and put away during dinnertime. Screens sap attention and limit the interaction
between family members, so establish meals as “screen-free” periods.

Start gradually

If you haven’t had a set mealtime in place, you don’t have to immediately jump
into the deep end. Start slow. For instance, make a plan to have family meals
one or two days a week, always on the same days, and then increase the
frequency later if desired.

Make it fun

Try out new recipes. Create theme nights. Invite your daughter to cook with you.
Activities like this will provide positive focal points that launch conversation and
give everyone in the family a feeling that the meal is special event.

Set a schedule

Teenagers thrive when they can depend on a regular schedule. Set meals at frim
and unchanging times. This will make it easier to prepare dinner, and set an
anchor point for members of the family.

Cut yourself some slack

It’s OK if dinners isn’t a gourmet, five-star experience, and the conversation may
not always be sparkling and free flowing. The point is to spend time together as a
family. Keep things positive, and don’t hold yourself to unrealistic standards. Bon