Eating together as a family might seem like an insurmountable goal these days in our busy lives of being on the go, but it’s something I truly believe in making a priority (I’ve written about why I believe in so much here). It may come as no surprise that I think with a little meal planning, getting dinner on the table rather than going through the drive through in a ton of different directions, it can happen more easily. But whether you’re cooking from scratch or not, it’s the time together, with the electronics tuned off or put aside, that can truly make the difference.
Some of the biggest problems facing families today are childhood obesity and accompanying disease, teen substance abuse, and the erosion of family connections due to the ever-increasing intrusion of electronic devices.
But recent studies have shown that when families eat dinner together more often:
- Kids are at a healthier weight
- Families have healthier eating habits
- Teens are less likely to engage in risky behaviors (like drinking, drugs and sexual activity)
- Kids and teens have closer relationships with their parents
All this from something as simple as eating family dinners together, even a few times per week. Since summer time is a bit slower paced generally (at least there is no homework and after school activities to rush around to), why not consider getting the kids into the kitchen, too, to help make it happen? Check out these ideas for a few of my favorite things to help get kids in the kitchen.
I’m very excited to let you know today that I am a partner and supporter (and hope you will join me) of an ambitious (yet simple) initiative: the Family Dinner Challenge.
Launched by family dinner expert and advocate, Aviva Goldfarb of the The Six O’Clock Scramble, the goal is to get 10,000 families to commit to eating dinner together at least 3 times a week for 4 weeks between now and September (soon to be known as Family Dinner Month). That’s pretty doable, don’t you think?
When you Take the challenge yourself , you will receive all the tools you need, including weekly menus, recipes and grocery lists, a chart to keep track of your dinners eaten together, conversation starters, and other helpful materials to make the challenge a success for your family. Our hope is that you are so inspired by the positive changes that take place in your home during the challenge that you will continue making family dinners a priority in your busy life.
You can even keep up with others on the Six O’clock Scramble Facebook page who have joined the challenge to share and learn new idea for getting dinner to the table for your family and making dinner time together a priority.
Family dinners may not be the solution to all our big problems, but it’s a powerful place to start. Won’t you say yes to the challenge?