Family dinners aren't just for the holidays. They actually have benefits far outside of sharing that ham or lamb feast among people you care about.
Picture: Lars Ploughmann/Flickr
We all get busy, but making the time pays off with some real benefits. For families with adolescents, a UCLA study, showed shared meal time was associated with reduced depression, reduced substance abuse and less delinquency. Pass the meatloaf might be more effective than spare the rod and spoil the child. Even if you don't have children, making meal time with the people you care about gives you the opportunity to communicate correctly without distraction or competing interests. Get the kids involved with the meal creation and don't feel bad about doing takeout on occasion.
If you can't make time for a nice meal together more than once or twice a year, then do breakfast. Personally I always make sure to have coffee with my husband at least once a week. We sit down, relax and talk about our day. We'll also do the occasional beers together in the evening. Just make sure you really connect rather than talk about the things that annoy us in life (work, politics, family of origin, health).
Meal time isn't about eating; it's about sharing with the people you care about most. Hit the link for more info on the research and tips on how to make the most of your family dinner.
Creating a Positive Family Culture: How to Get the Most Out of Family Dinner [Art of Manliness]