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The importance of dinner as a family

Have you heard about the fast track to increasing your child's SAT scores??? Or improving the reading skills of your 3rd grader??? Or just making your family feel better???

Having dinner with your family! Yes, studies just released by Cornell University show that the power of close/intimate relationships — the kind formed by consistently eating meals together as a family has a direct relationship to increased SAT scores. Talking with family members over a meal also raised scores on other standardized testing as well!

Authentic relationships require time and energy — like sitting together processing life over food — not over the phone via a text or six. There are many perks to sharing time over a meal: sense of security and peace, decreased stress levels, increased confidence, satisfaction and clarity as well as belonging to something. Many studies point to increased vocabulary skills, which helps with reading and great grades.

Family is formed and forged around tables, especially home tables. During this time of the year, we tend to have more family meals — keep that going in the new year. Don't outsource your table time!

BUT... "we are busy," "everyone is on a different schedule," "I don't have time to cook a big, elaborate meal," "it just seems complicated." Yes, all those things and more are true, but, like anything else, if it is important to us, we find a way to make it happen. Maybe have breakfast as a family instead of dinner, tailgate before a game or practice, or throw a blanket on the floor at your workplace. It does not need to be a big and elaborate meal — a grilled cheese and a can of tomato soup is a great winter meal. It is less about the food and more about being together! Approximately 74 percent of teenagers indicated that they enjoy eating meals with their family. It is good for the brain, body, and spirit!

Remember, our children learn by watching us, their parents, and will mimic our behaviors.

I wish you the Joy and Peace of the Christmas Season,

Jayne Dwyer-Reff, RN,
School Nurse