No matter how busy life gets, eat dinner together as a family.

This is one of those rules you have heard about for years, but it is hard to follow because life can just get so busy. We have five children, who each have extra-curricular activities. We are either carpooling kids to dance, gymnastics, soccer, piano, play dates, or we're running errands ourselves—not to mention our responsibilities as parents, employees, authors, performers and church members. It's amazing we manage to get by with only 24 hours in a day. I know most of you face the same challenges because we pass you on the raids every day, doing the same thing we are doing.

But if you are not careful, life will also pass you by, your children will grow up and precious time together will be lost. To ensure that we hold onto this time with our children, we have a rule in our family that we eat dinner together every night, no matter what. There are exceptions to this rule of course, but for the most part we stick to it.

Dinner Matters

Why are we so adamant of pulling our five offspring away from the many other "things" they are involved in to just sit down and eat together? For starters, it just feels good to get together and catch up. It's amazing how your children will open up when they know they can't be anywhere else and they have food in their tummies. Plus, there are several great studies on the importance of following this rule, proving the family dinner rule pays off. One of these by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University, has the following promise:

"Studies show that the more often families eat together, the less likely kids are to smoke, drink, do drugs, get depressed, develop eating disorders and consider suicide, and the more likely they are to do well in school, delay having sex, eat their vegetables, learn big words and know which fork to use" (2005).

With these benefits, family dinner sounds like it's worth the effort. So, with all that's going on in your lives, do what you can to get together as a family each night, to eat dinner and just talk. This is one habit you will not be sorry you adopted.

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