Family meals are beneficial for students and parents

Dinner is undeniably an important part of the day, but it’s not just the meal that matters. Eating dinner with your family every night can have a noticeable impact on your life. Of course, many families already do this, but those that don’t should definitely consider it.

Obviously, students’ home lives can be complicated. Some students aren’t in a position where family dinners are a feasible option. However, for families who are able to eat together, it’s a simple routine that can come with a lot of great benefits.

As both students and parents get busier and busier over time, it’s easy for them to become isolated from their families. Especially at Grady, where many students are enrolled in AP classes, school and work can often take priority over spending time with one’s family.

Additionally, many Grady students are involved in clubs or sports, and some students have internships or jobs. In the midst of all the schoolwork and extracurriculars, it’s easy for students to miss out on spending quality time with their parents and siblings. But if their households eat dinner together, at least busy students still have a chance to catch up with their families.

Because of this, dinner may be the only time that family discussions can happen at all. So especially for those who are often too busy to converse with their parents or siblings at all, dinners can be critical in maintaining those bonds.

Dinner provides people with a chance to connect with their families, even if it’s something as simple as telling them about their day. Family meals can be directly beneficial for students: According to Dr. Margie Skeer, an assistant professor at Tufts University, students who eat dinner with their families are less likely to participate in risky behaviors. Other studies show that, in general, parents who communicate better with their kids reduce their kids’ risk of delinquency and substance abuse. Family meals are the perfect conduit to foster this sort of communication.

Not only are family dinners psychologically beneficial; they can also improve physical health. The food at family meals tends to be healthier overall, with more vitamins and vegetables, and fewer sodas and fried foods. While family dinners aren’t necessarily a formal occasion, they encourage households to prepare healthier, homemade meals instead of just buying fast food.

Although, at first glance, the difference between family dinners and dinners alone can seem insignificant, there are many hidden benefits to eating meals together. So, if your household doesn’t do it already, it’s absolutely worth it to carve out 30 minutes each evening to sit down at a table, relax, and enjoy a meal with your family.