With the crazy schedules all of us have, the importance of making time on a daily basis to connect with each other during a family meal has more benefits than you know! When you make regular family mealtimes important on your schedule, you show your spouse and kids they are a priority in your life. And that has such positive effects on child development, from obesity to substance abuse!

The sense of security and togetherness provided by family meals helps mature children into healthy, well-rounded adults. Frequent family dinners have a favorable impact on children's health, values, motivation, personal identity and self-esteem. Equally important is the family dynamic at the table. How you converse with the kids has a big effect on their weight because their eating habits change when there's a lot of negativity around.

Expressing an interest in the child's day makes them feel that you care about what's going on. Eating disorders develop more rapidly when there's a lot of stress around the table. Save the negative stuff for another time. When the family gets together to share a meal, "accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative."

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