Just in time for National Family Month, which falls in September (the 26th is National Family Day), a new sobering study has been released that finds that a third of American families consume their meals together without uttering a word.
“To get the most out of family mealtimes, the table needs to be filled with the happy noise of conversation, chat and laughter. The more we engage, the closer and more connected we feel to each other,” comments psychologist Dr. Linda Papadopoulos in a statement. “And children need to be part of this as it’s a vital part of developing their social skills. There is something truly wonderful about the happy sounds produced by a vibrant family meal.”
In the age of pocket electronics, some families find it increasingly difficult even to make conversation.
One step that family heads can take to ensure that mealtimes include a healthy dialog about daily events of family members is a policy adopted by some restaurants, which have begun to collect customers’ cell phones when they first arrive. Sneaky’s Chicken in Sioux City, Iowa, has taken the policy a step further in the direction of cordiality by offering a 10% discount to patrons who agree to surrender their cell phones until meal’s end.