Next time you click through the television channels, find the cable channel that shows old shows like Leave it To Beaver, Andy Griffith and My Three Sons. You will notice something that doesn’t look familiar in today’s culture. All of these shows feature families at the dinner table sharing a meal, laughing and having conversations about their day. The modern American family has lost this important tradition. However, it is time to revisit this timed tradition.
According to several studies, families who eat meals together experience benefits that will hopefully motivate you to consider reinstituting this lost tradition. Families who eat meals together:
1) Decrease a child’s likelihood to drink, smoke or use illegal drugs
2) Decrease a teen’s likelihood to have sex at a young age, get in fights, be suspended from school or become suicidal 
3) Improve nutrition and eat healthier 
4) Improve family relationships and intimate connections
5) Improve a child’s academic success 
These are five incredible benefits to simply adding the family meal to your schedule. I know it is hard given our busy schedules. In the future, I will have tips on how to make this happen. For now, commit to it and give your kids five great benefits.
 Columbia News, CASA 2000 Teen Survey. Teens With “Hands-Off” Parents at Four Times Greater Risk of Smoking, Drinking, and Using Illegal Drugs as Teens With “Hands-On” Parents, last referenced 10/1/2002.
 Sandra L. Hofferth, “Changes in American Children’s Time,”1981-1997.” University of
Michigan’s Institute for Social Research, Center Survey, January, 1999. National probability samples of American families with children ages 3-12, using time diary data from 1981 and 1997. Findings on how time use is associated with children’s well-being are reported in Hofferth, S. L., “How American Children Spend Their Time,” Journal of Marriage and the Family, (2001).63, 295-308. Retrieved online October 4, 2004, from http://184.108.40.206/search?q=cache:H5jg_Q0-v74J:edprojects.che.umn.edu/takeback/downloads/research.pdf+overscheduled+kids+and+underconnected+families&hl=en
 Gillman, M.W., Rifas-Shiman, S.L., Frazier, A.L., Rockette, H.R.H., Camargo, C.A., Field, A.E., Berkey, C.S., & Colditz, G.A. “Family Dinners and Diet Quality Among Older Children and Adolescents,” Archives of Family Medicine, (2000). 9,235-240. A questionnaire using 24- hour recall that was mailed to children of participants in the ongoing Nurses Health Study II. Retrieved online October 6, 2004, from http://220.127.116.11/search?q=cache:H5jg_Q0v74J:edprojects.che.umn.edu/takeback/downloads/research.pdf+overscheduled+kids+and+underconnected+families&hl=en
 2CASA. Why Family Day?, last referenced 9/1/2003.