Why family dinnertime matters

Your kids can learn how to gab and increase their vocab just by breaking bread with you.

Apart from providing an opportunity to bond over a meal, sitting down in a semi-formal setting around a table and sharing discussion can prepare children for school group settings and enhance social skills.

“It provides a model for socialization during eating. It can teach children manners and they learn how to have a conversation,” says Dr. Jessica Hoffman, Ph.D., an associate professor in the department of counseling and applied educational psychology at Bouve College of Health Sciences at Northeastern University.

“It’s an opportunity for children to expand their vocabulary and speech skills,” she continues. “When children listen to parents and older siblings talk about their day, or items in the news, it helps develop language skills and to develop critical perspectives.”

Having family dinners also provides parents with an additional tool to keep a check on their children’s progress at school, and can be an important daily link to their children’s classroom.

“Family dinnertime is an opportunity for parents to monitor what’s going on in their children’s lives and spot any possible academic problems,” adds Dr. Hoffman. But if the matter is a personal one, it’s best to discuss it in private. “Conversation should always be kept in a family context and be sensitive to who is there. Explosive topics should be kept for one-on-one situations,” she says.

Putting family dinners on the schedule also provides structure for you and your family. But be realistic — it’s OK if schedules don’t allow for togetherness every night.

“It doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing,” advises Dr. Hoffman. “Do it as often as you can without stressing about it — but the more family dinners you share, the better.”

Dr. Hoffman advises getting children involved in preparing a meal, too.

“There are so many skills that cooking helps improve. There’s math involved in measuring and fractions. You’re dividing for recipes and calculating amounts. There’s reading and learning how to follow directions. There’s sequencing and coordination. Plus, kids are more likely to eat what they have helped cook.”

Studies show…

» Research in The American Academy of Pediatrics found that kids who have regular family dinners experience a lower incidence of obesity.

Columbia University’s National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse found that kids who eat family dinners get better grades in school and are less likely to try drugs or alcohol.

A recent data review by Rutgers suggests that family dinners can boost produce consumption and reduce feelings of depression in teens.
Source: The Kids Cook Monday, whose toolkit for family dinner planning is available online at www.thekidscookmonday.org



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

FDNY debuts new fire simulator for blazes at…

The New York City Fire Department christened its newest, state-of-the-art, custom-built simulator at its training academy on Randall's Island Tuesday.

Local

Bronx cop saves baby who stopped breathing

A Bronx police officer is credited with saving the life of a 2-month-old baby who stopped breathing Tuesday morning. Police Officer Johnny Castillo, 38, was…

Local

Brewer celebrates Women's Equality Day with voter pledge

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer celebrated Women’s Equality Day Tuesday by pledging to register at least five women voters before the Oct. 10 deadline. Brewer…

Local

NYPD looking for lewd D train rider

The NYPD is enlisting the public’s help to find a man they say performed a lewd act on the D train Saturday evening. The incident…

Entertainment

QUIZ: How many English words do you actually…

Are you as smart as you say you are? Are you a word nerd? Take this quick vocabulary test to find out if you're a true wordsmith. Good luck.

Television

'Pretty Little Liars' recap: Season 5, Episode 12,…

If you've wondered whether Ali and Bethany knew each other, you got an answer tonight: Yes, and in a very tangled way. But many lingering…

Entertainment

Cymbals Eat Guitars Have Everything to 'LOSE'

At its most basic level, a rock band can be thought of as a family, a group of people selflessly devoted to a cause. When…

Entertainment

"Bachelor in Paradise" recap: Episode 4, 'Week Four'

Some things are hard to watch in a “Human Centipede” sort of way. Other things in an “American History X” sort of way. Does “Bachelor…

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

NFL

Dimitri Patterson suspended only for rest of preseason…

Dimitri Patterson ended up getting just a slap on the wrist.

Sports

Eugenie Bouchard excited for 'rowdy' fans at US…

Eugenie Bouchard is sure to endear herself to New York's tennis faithful as she tries to win her first grand slam title across the next two weeks.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Angels and A's still at…

MLB Power Rankings: Angels and A's still at top, Nationals climb

Wellbeing

Who is having the most orgasms?

  Single lesbians report having orgasms more often than heterosexual women but both gay and straight men still come out on top of the climax…

Home

Jonathan Adler shares his tips for a great…

Jonathan Adler took a break from boogie boarding at his beach house to tell us how to keep that Labor Day party festive.

Travel

Most popular Labor Day weekend destinations

Priceline.com released its Top 20 destinations for the end of summer, including Labor Day weekend. If you’re heading to any of these spots, expect a…

Wellbeing

Working your way to type 2 diabetes: Job…

When it comes to type 2 diabetes, a stressful job can be as risky for your health as a bad diet and no exercise. A…