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How often should my family eat together?

Ideally, you’d eat together seven days a week, but I know that isn’t realistic. Your daughter has gymnastics on Mondays and your son has soccer practice on Tuesdays; then there’s swimming on Thursday, and don’t forget your book group meeting on Friday evening. With everyone’s busy schedules, sitting down together for dinner isn’t always a possibility, but this is an important one to make time for.

Try to schedule a family dinner at least a few times a week, and if that doesn’t work, what about breakfast, or even snack time? Find a time for everyone to sit down together and enjoy one another’s company. Making family meals a daily habit that children look forward to helps them develop healthier attitudes about food and resist destructive weight-loss behaviors.

Keep mealtimes interesting by starting with a joke or ending with a riddle or brainteaser to solve by the next meal. Have everyone share a story of something that went well or not so well that day. This routine helps build stronger family relationships and foster healthy child development.

From Good Kids, Bad Habits: The RealAge Guide to Raising Healthy Children by Jennifer Trachtenberg.

Good Kids, Bad Habits: The RealAge Guide to Raising Healthy Children

More About this Book

Good Kids, Bad Habits: The RealAge Guide to Raising Healthy Children

When kids start going on TV binges or devouring fistfuls of cookies, it's easy to say, "They'll grow out of it." More likely, they're acquiring bad habits that could lead to childhood obesity and...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.