American children spend...
- an average of 3 hours per day in front of a screen or electronic device?
- less than 20 minutes per day reading?
- less than 6 minutes per day engaged in meaningful conversation with a parent?!?
Modern life has its conveniences, but we have to admit it equally takes its toll on modern families. If we only have 6 minutes a day to guide our children, then who is left to guide them? (Hint: peers who know as-much-as or less-than our children; the media, which promotes values that may differ from ourown; advertisers, who promote consumption to benefit companies and shareholders, not our children...).
Focus on Family Dinners
If you are already consistently sharing dinners together as a family about 5 nights per week on average, you are providing your children (and yourself!) emotional nutrition beyond the meal. This precious time together will strengthen your children's well being, resilience and the bond between you. Bravo! Keep it going!!!
DID YOU KNOW?
Children and teens who eat dinners at home regularly (4 or more times per week) are 40% more likely to report getting mainly As and Bs in school.
Girls who grow up in homes where family meals are a regular occurrence (and a positive experience) are significantly less likely to develop an eating disorder.
Teens who eat dinner with their parents on a regular basis are significantly more likely to report they do not smoke or use drugs and alcohol.
If 5 nights/week is too lofty a goal (or just plain impossible at this point); see where small adjustments can be made. Big changes can come from small shifts. Shoot for 3 or 4 nights per week! Just set your intention to create some time together to connect (Is a breakfast routine more realistic?). Keep the tone upbeat and positive; save addressing "issues" for other times, like at a Family Meeting...
It takes effort but aren't the results worth it? Our children are our best investment, and we DON'T get these years back.
Enjoy time with your families this holiday season and come back to my blog in the coming days to learn about programs and workshops happening in the New Year!