One of the silver linings in this COVID-19 outbreak is taking back the family meal, now that the virus has shut down schools, kids' after-school activities and sports, and most of us are working from home.

Before now, it was improbable for the whole family to sit down to a meal. But since everybody is confined, the time is right to reconnect and gather as a family unit around the breakfast, lunch or dinner table.

In my opinion, what you decide to have for the meal isn't as important as having the chow together and talking. Modern-day frenetic life, plus the electronics that everyone's addicted to, have forced starvation on family relations and hunger for kindred fellowship. These are stressful times for young and old alike. A simple spread can help alleviate some of that tension. Kids need to feel safe and have structure and order– just what's on the menu of a family meal.

Any doctor will tell you how important this is for everyone's physical and emotional well being. And it doesn't really matter what you talk about, although kids are fascinated by the funny stories of how mom and dad met, the grandparents' experiences and things that speak about their roots. And one of my most important suggestions is to totally avoid any topic that will inevitably cause an argument. You know what I mean.

I've read that kids who eat with their families regularly are less likely to get involved with risky behavior, develop a better vocabulary and do better academically. Your entire family will benefit so much just by eating together more often.

Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at phil@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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