"Family dinners are more important than play, storytime and other family events in development of vocabulary of youngsters," (Harvard Research, 1996).
And did you know about the Columbia University survey? It revealed that teenagers who eat with their families at least five times a week are more likely to get better grades in school and are less likely to have substance abuse problems? I realize every family today is totally overloaded with schedules and stress. It's difficult to get everyone to come together on a decision much less the table! But our society's family-dinner deficit today is a contributing factor to childhood obesity, teen substance abuse, poor academic performance and increased household stress! So it makes sense to me that one component of good parenting - and good discipline - is to try having dinner together at least three times a week. You don't have to be June & Ward Clever, but want to join me in that 2011 goal?
When I was growing up, my mom wouldn't let us joke and laugh at dinner (maybe she thought we should be dignified like the Clevers). But I beg to differ with dear ole Mom. Keep your dinnertime enjoyable by playing:
"20 Questions" with a theme each night, such as cities with funny names, state capitols, favorite seasons, etc. Not only will everyone at the table be engaged but it could encourage kids to study about the theme prior to meal time.
"Fiddly Diddly Dee" I see something you don't see. Describe the shape and color of something in your kitchen and see who can guess the object.
"What Was Your Fave Today?" by asking each person around the table to share his/her fave part of the day.
Daily discipline may just be sitting together with your kids over dinner where you are teaching them many lessons.
Fascinating about research on family meals http://nutrition.wsu.edu/ebet/background.html.
(c)Copyright, 2011, Brenda Nixon. The Birth to Five Book: Confident Childrearing Right from the Start is available at bookstores and online at Amazon.
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