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Home Health First Aid Family Dinner: How Long Should It Last?

Family Dinner: How Long Should It Last?

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Families rarely eat dinner together. The amount of time they actually spend around the dinner table has decreased in the last decade. The average family dinner is about 8 minutes which leaves little time for conversation, let alone eating. Instead of rushing out the door to the next activity or allowing the kids to leave early to get homework done, try picking at least one night per week to have a longer two or three course meal for dinner. 

Experts say that staging the meal like when you're out to eat can help increase the amount of time you're spending at the table. This allows for more conversations and potential time for bellies to feel full.  

Get your kids involved in the dinner prep and post processes as well. Having kids take ownership even at younger ages can help get them agreeable to staying longer at the table and being part of the fun. Older teens may feel they don't have the "time" to help out due to homework, sports and socializing, but if you give them ownership of the meal, they may feel obligated to participate or maybe inspired.

Research from Cornell University found that children who engaged in family dinners are 35 percent less likely to engage in an eating disorder, 24 percent more likely to eat healthier foods and 12 percent less likely to be overweight. This will help manage the family health and reduce stress as well. 

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