Daily family rituals and gatherings build connections that give children (and babies!) a deep sense of security and support. Babies and very young children greatly benefit from sharing meals with their parents and family.
Sitting at the dinner table (albeit in a high chair) and hearing everyone share stories from their day can help your baby with langauge learning, social interaction and even eating skills. (Don’t stress, by the way, if your baby has some sloppy eating habits; it’s all part of learning and developing.)
Family Mealtime Benefits
Statistics show the time families spend together has long-term positive effects on children’s behavior. A major study of 12,000 teenagers found that those adolescents who feel close to their family and school are less likely to:
- Suffer from emotional distress
- Have suicidal thoughts and behaviors
- Resort to violence
- Smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol or smoke marijuana
Other studies have found that eating as a family, rather than in front of the TV, reduces the risk of obesity and diabetes.
If gathering everyone for a regular dinner hour is difficult, however, you can schedule other regular family time. Focus now on establishing family rituals to maintain a close family bond as your child grows.
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This message is not intended to provide individual medical advice. Always seek the advice of a physician or qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have about your health or medical condition, your breastfeeding issues and your infant's health. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you have read in our emails, webpages or other electronic communications.
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