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Family dinners create healthier, happier kids—studies prove it

Making time for family meals matters—and pays off in big ways. 

Family dinners create healthier, happier kids—studies prove it

In the rush of the evenings, it can be hard to get dinner ready let alone have everyone sit down around the table. New research shows it’s worth the effort, though, as kids who regularly eat family meals are more physically fit, have better social skills and didn’t demonstrate as much aggression as peers who dined solo.


“Our findings suggest that family meals are not solely markers of home environment quality, but are also easy targets for parent education about improving children's well-being,” says co-author Linda Pagani, a pyschoeducation professor at the Université de Montréal “From a population-health perspective, our findings suggest that family meals have long-term influences on children's physical and mental well-being.”

For the study published in the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, researchers reviewed the Quebec Longitudinal Study of Child Development, which tracked nearly 1,500 children born between 1997 and 1998. Using reports from parents, teachers and the children themselves, the researchers looked at the link between the frequency of family meals when the kids were 6 years old and their traits four years later.

The kids who regularly had dinners with their parents were healthier across multiple measures—and the researchers don’t think that’s solely because of the food that was served.

“The presence of parents during mealtimes likely provides young children with firsthand social interaction, discussions of social issues and day-to-day concerns, and vicarious learning of prosocial interactions in a familiar and emotionally secure setting,” Pagani says.

Other studies have shown different—but still significant—benefits to family dinnertimes:

Finding the time to sit down around the table may not be easy—but it clearly is worthwhile for everyone. Your kids will be healthier and your heart will likely be happier. Besides, there’s nothing in the research that indicates take-out doesn’t count.

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    These are only the vitamins I give my children and here's why

    It's hard to say who loves these more—my kids or me.

    When I became a mama five years ago, I didn't put too much thought into whether my son was getting the right vitamins and minerals. From breastfeeding to steaming and pureeing his first bites of solid food, I was confident I was giving him everything to support his growth and development.

    But then the toddler years—and the suddenly picky palate that accompanied them—came along. Between that challenge and two additional children in the mix… well, I knew my oldest son's eating plan was falling short in some vitamin and mineral categories.

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    It wasn't just the variety of supplements offered by Nature's Way that won me over: As a vegetarian mama, I'm the picky one in the family when it comes to scanning labels and making sure they meet our standards. The trick is that most gummy vitamins are made with gelatin, which is not vegetarian friendly.

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    Nature's Way Kids Mulitvitamin


    Meanwhile, my pharmacist husband has different criteria when evaluating supplements, especially when it comes to those for our kids. He appreciates the variety of options from Nature's Way, which gives us the ability to rotate the vitamins based on our kids' daily needs. By keeping various children's supplements from Nature's Way on hand, I can customize a regimen to suit my kids' individual requirements.

    Of course, high-quality products often come at a higher price point. But (to my immense gratitude!) that isn't the case with Nature's Way, which retails for a competitive value when compared to the other items on the shelf.

    Like all mamas, my chief concern is supporting my children's health in any way I can. While I see evidence of their growth every time I pack away clothes they've outgrown, I know there is much more growth that doesn't meet the eye. That's why, for my oldest son, I like stacking the Brain Builder gummy with the Growing Bones & Muscles gummy and the Happy & Healthy Multi. My 3-year-old also enjoys getting her own mix to include the Healthy Eyes gummy. And both of my older kids are quick to request the Tummy Soothe tablet when something isn't sitting right in their stomachs.* And I'll admit it: I've tried it myself and the berry blast flavor really is tasty!

    Although my current phase of motherhood may not be as "simple" as it once was, there is so much to appreciate about it—like watching my kids play and sing and create with their incredible imaginations. Along the way, I've eased up on some of my need for control, but it does help to have this range of supplements in my motherhood tool kit. So while I may not be able to convince my son to try kale, having the Nature's Way supplements on hand means I do know he's right on track.*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


    This article was sponsored by Nature's Way. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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