MEANING OF EATING TOGETHER To eat together in the East was at one time a sure pledge of protection. Some animals like to eat together with their human friends. Eating together as a family is more important today than in the past because there are more competing distractions, more choices of activities outside the home, and a constant bombardment of information from modern technology.
During the day most of us are out in the community mixing with all kinds of people. Our children are learning about the world from many sources, often without parental filters or input. Even when everyone is home, individuals do their own thing. Perhaps the only opportunity of the day to talk with each other is at the dinner table.
BENEFITS OF EATING TOGETHER Is the traditional family dinner a thing of the past? Is it overvalued as an institution that was once a cornerstone of the American home but has become obsolete with changing times? In todays households where both parents go to work and kids have busy schedules with school, homework and an array of afternoon activities, finding time for a gathering at the table seems all but impossible. Yet, studies have shown time and again that eating together has multiple benefits for everyone involved, but especially for children, and not only for nutritional purposes but in many other aspects as well.
According to a number of reports issued by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University(CASA), children who eat at least five times a week with their family are at lower risk of developing poor eating habits, weight problems or alcohol and substance dependencies, and tend to perform better academically than their peers who frequently eat alone or away from home. To be sure, the iconic family meal, as for example depicted by the painter Norman Rockwell, came only into American life in the mid-20th century. In the 60s and 70s, profound social, economic and technological changes quickly dissolved that short-lived idyll. Restaurant visits, take-out and TV dinners have since become the norm rather than the exception.