The Importance of Family Togetherness
Our lives today seem busier than ever, and family bonding time may seem hard to find. However, spending more time as a family can improve your child’s physical and mental health. The Family Dinner Project is an organization that teaches about the benefits of eating dinner together as a family and how to get started with this. It also offers fun recipe ideas and conversation starters.
The benefits of spending more family time together are significant. A 2010 research study by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) found that compared to teens who have frequent (5-7 per week) family dinners, those who have infrequent (less than 3 per week) family dinners are more than twice as likely to say that they expect to try drugs in the future. Those who have infrequent family dinners are also more likely to say that they have used tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana, and also to have friends who use these substances. This CNN article also explains 8 reasons to make time for family dinners.
The CASA study discovered that strong family ties are associated with a reduced likelihood that a teen will use substances. Family togetherness is also associated with higher grades and self-esteem in children. Although time and scheduling conflicts can certainly be an issue, the benefits to making an effort to eat dinner together are overwhelming. If dinner together is sometimes out of the question, make sure you’re making effort to spend quality time together in other ways. Check out the Family Dinner Project website for many helpful ideas.