The Lion's Tale

Spend quality time at family dinners

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Spend quality time at family dinners

In-Depth editor Sara Sporkin sits down each night at dinner to eat with her family, a time she has come to value.

In-Depth editor Sara Sporkin sits down each night at dinner to eat with her family, a time she has come to value.

photo by Sara Sporkin

In-Depth editor Sara Sporkin sits down each night at dinner to eat with her family, a time she has come to value.

photo by Sara Sporkin

photo by Sara Sporkin

In-Depth editor Sara Sporkin sits down each night at dinner to eat with her family, a time she has come to value.

Sara Sporkin, In-Depth Editor

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In our busy lives with schoolwork and extracurriculars, we often overlook the importance of spending quality time with our families. For my family, that time comes each night during our dinners together.

The Family Dinner Project, an organization that encourages families to share evening meals with each other, lists a number of benefits that are associated with family dinners. For instance, children who have dinner with their family perform better academically, have a greater sense of resilience and have lower rates of obesity.

According to research cited by The Washington Post, young children’s vocabularies improve from eating dinner with their parents. In a study, young kids learned 1,000 rare words at the dinner table. By contrast, parents reading books out loud only taught children 143 rare words.

Teenagers who eat family dinners five or more times weekly are twice as likely to earn A’s in school as those who eat dinner with their family fewer than two times a week.

There are also mental benefits for children who have nightly family dinners, such as a lower risk of depression, a lower likelihood of developing eating disorders and a higher sense of self-esteem.

My family almost always eats dinner together. Although we often have to eat later than the average family due to my dad’s commute from Washington, D.C., I deeply value the shared quality time that these meals give us.

Some of my fondest memories are from my dinner table. When I was younger, my family often played verbal games, but now we talk about current events, as well as what is happening in our personal lives. If my siblings or I are having problems in school, our parents give us advice.

These nightly conversations have shaped how I approach each day. I strongly encourage everyone to make the effort to eat more family dinners so that they can reap the benefits from this bonding experience.

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