There are lots of good reasons to enjoy family meals. Here are some of the impressive benefits that accrue when families eat together five or more times per week:
School success: Mealtime conversations translate into academic success. As children listen to adults, they learn language skills, such as new vocabulary and sentence structure. These skills, which are necessary for reading comprehension and for verbal expression, help children do better in the classroom and on tests.
Better nutrition: When families make mealtimes a priority, they naturally tend to pay more attention to what is served. Children who have more family meals get more of the nutrient-rich foods that build strong bodies and smart brains: more fruits, veggies, lean meats, and milk; fewer fried foods and soft drinks.
Healthier weights: Smart eating habits help children avoid problems like being seriously overweight or developing an eating disorder. During family meals, adults can model positive habits for kids, such as eating slowly, enjoying a variety of foods, and stopping when comfortably satisfied rather than overstuffed.
While all these benefits are confirmed by research, the #1 reason is much simpler ... and more important: Kids like family mealtimes.