S = Smarter Children:
Improved vocabularies and reading skills
A study by Dr. Catherine Snow at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, followed 65 families over 15 years, looking at how meal time conversations play a critical role in language acquisition in young children. The conversations that occur around the family table teach children more vocabulary and forms of discourse than they learn when you read to them. Improved vocabularies lead to better readers. Better readers do better in all school subjects.
Greater academic achievement
A Readers Digest survey of more than 2,000 high-school seniors compared academic achievement with family characters tics. Eating meals with their family was a stronger predictor of academic success than whether they lived with one or both parents.
U = Unlikely to smoke, drink, or take drugs:
In a research project coordinated by Dr. Blake Bowden of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, 527 teenagers were studied to determine what family and lifestyle characteristics were related to good mental health and adjustment. He found that kids who ate dinner with their families at least five times per week were the least likely to take drugs, feel depressed or get into trouble.
C = Courteous and Conversational:
Family meals are a natural training ground for learning social skills, manners, and how to have pleasant conversation.
It’s at the family table that we learn to talk, learn to behave, to take turns, be polite, not to interrupt, how to share, and when we have guest, how to entertain-good lessons for success in life!
C = Connected to family:
A study by the Kraft Company found that American families who eat together are happier in many aspects of their lives than those who don’t. Children and teens that eat family meals together experience improved family communication, have stronger family ties and a greater sense of identity and belonging.
E = Eating better:
Dianne Neumark-Sztainer and her colleagues at the University of Minnesota, published the results of the EAT study (which stands for eating among teens) in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. Their finding showed a dramatic relationship between family meal patterns and dietary intake in adolescents. Their study involved nearly 5,000 middle and high-school students of diverse ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds. They found that family meals were associated with improved intake of fruits, vegetables, grains, calcium-rich foods, protein, iron, fiber, and vitamins A, C, E, B-6 and folate. Family meals were associated with lower intake of soft-drinks and snack-foods.
S = Sharing food and conversation at meals
S = Strengthens families!!
By Director of Food Service Carole Knight