I’ll admit quickly enough that sometimes my family watches television during dinner. It’s not a habit we’re proud of… or at least my husband and I aren’t. The kids of course love it. The reason is generally that someone has put so much stuff on the kitchen table that no one feels like clearing it off for dinner.

dinner table

This really isn’t a good habit. Pretty much everyone knows that.

We aren’t as bad as some, I suppose. The dinner is at least home cooked and doesn’t come from a box. But that doesn’t change the fact that eating in front of the television changes how we interact as a family.

Right now I notice mostly the little things, like my kids eat better if I make them eat at the table. This is particularly true for my 2 year old, who will go around playing if we aren’t at the table. He’s still wiggly at the table, but there’s more of a focus on the food at the table.

At his age, of course, dinnertime conversation with him is limited. He’s in speech therapy, so it’s a challenge for that reason as well.

My daughter is more interested in finishing her meals, since she knows we enforce the rule of “eat dinner or go hungry”. She’s old enough for that, and takes finishing first serious much of the time. But she’s also old enough that we really neede that habit of being with family at dinnertime to build, so that it comes naturally as she gets older.

Watching television at meal times seems like such a little thing, but on the MediaWise website, Dr. Dave discusses how important it is to make dinnertime a family ritual. The more television children watch, for example, the more likely they are to become obese. There’s also a correlation between family dinners and better grades and less drug use.

Nothing guarantees anything, of course. There are too many factors to say that doing this one thing will be enough. But it’s a simple thing to do that can help your family find time to be together.

[tags]family dinner,meal times,television,tv,kids,children[/tags]