Research from the National center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University has given us the ultimate information on the benefits of the family meal. When a child and at least one parent has a family meal at least 5 times a week, we see all kinds of good benefits. Children:
Mealtime isn't Mom's job or Dad's job - it is a Family Affair. Even very young children can help set the table and clear away the trash. When they are older, they can help chop veggies, design menus, and do the dishes. EVERYONE can clear their place.
SPICE UP THE FAMILY MEAL
Almost every family finds themselves in a rut at some time when it comes to dinner. Here are some fun ways to spice up the family meal:
When the conversation lags at the family meal, try asking some of these questions or write your own:
1. What makes certain people popular at school/work?
2. What was your favorite family vacation and what made it your favorite?
3. What is something you want to learn how to do and why?
4. What stresses you out? When you are under stress, how do you react? What is a healthy way to deal with stress?
5. How can adults show respect to children and teens?
6. What are some reasons someone might pressure his or her friend to drink?
7. Under what circumstances do you find it hard to say no?
8. What is something you would like to improve about yourself?
9. How do you know when you can trust another person?
10. Do you learn more when you win or when you lose? In what way?
11. What is the most important thing in being a good friend?
12. What do you think is the best age to be? Why?
13. On a scale of 1-10 how busy do you feel your life is (10 being the most busy)? Why?
14. On a scale of 1-10 how busy is your family (10 being the most busy)? What changes would you like to see?
15. What is something you would like to do this year?
16. If I could change something at school/work it would be…
17. Describe your perfect day. Where would you be, who would you be with, and what would you be doing?
18. What is your most valued possession? Why?
19. What is the hardest thing about being a boy or girl in this society?
20. Something I wish my family would do more of is……
21. What do you think is (might be) the hardest thing about being a parent? A kid?
22. Describe something that happened to you today.
23. What are you thankful for?
24. What qualities would you want in a future spouse/partner?
25. What is your first memory?
26. What are reasons people may choose to smoke?
27. What makes someone a good leader? Describe someone you know who is a good leader.
28. What is the most difficult thing you have ever had to do?
29. What is something unique about you or our family?
30. What can a parent do to make their kids feel more confident?
31. If you were given $1,000 to use to help other people, how would you spend it?
32. If you could meet anyone in the world, living or dead, who would it be and why?
33. Why do you think parents set curfews for teenagers?
34. Do you think there is too much pressure on children today? What kind of pressure?
35. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
36. What would you like to do on our next family vacation?
37. If you could only eat one kind of food, what would it be?
38. If you were going to spend one month on an island by yourself, what three things would you take with you? Why?
Research on benefits of the Family Meal http://www.casacolumbia.org/templates/NewsRoom.aspx?articleid=695&zoneid=51
Why Families Who Eat Together Are Healthier http://healthland.time.com/2012/04/24/why-families-who-eat-together-are-healthier/
Parenting to Prevent Obesity http://www.healthiergeneration.org/parents.aspx?id=3085
Ways to Enhance Children's Activity and Nutrition http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/obesity/wecan/
Obesity-Linked Diabetes in Children