I was reading a blog posting at the Science of Raising Happy Kids where the author, Christine Carter, Ph.D. suggested wrote, “Research shows that telling stories about your shared past creates strong and secure emotional bonds, which directly impacts how well families are functioning. Turns out this study also found that kids who knew a lot about their family history learned it at dinnertime.”
Dr. Carter has several references at the end of her article but I couldn’t exactly identify which study she was referring to and have been unable to find it doing some internet searches of my own. I find the idea of discussing family history at mealtime an excellent topic for any family gathering but having an ongoing dialogue with your nuclear family at mealtimes is a great way to teach your children about their family history as well as reinforce family values and traditions.
The family mealtime has long been a favorite subject among child psychologists and other behavioral scientists. A quick search online finds a plethora of articles and blog posts such as The Importance of Family Dinner Time by Muri Calhoun. or Cheri Fuller’s Connecting With Your Kids at Dinnertime. They all pretty much say the same thing; children who grow up in a family that shares a daily meal together are happier, smarter, less likely to have behavioral problems and have better bonding with their other family members.
My children are grown and gone but we always made a point to sit down for dinner together every night. This was our chance to catch up on what each of us were doing, relax and laugh and be connected. My own parents had the same practice and gathering together to share a meal with them or with friends is still one of my favorite things to do.
I wish I had had the foresight to start discussions about family history when my own children were small. I can’t help but wonder how much further ahead I would be in my own historical quest if we had put that into practice years ago.