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the importance of family dinners

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The average family dinner lasts just 20 minutes. We can sit down to binge-watch episodes of TV shows that are three times that long. But we can’t stay still to enjoy a meal with our loved ones any longer than 20 minutes. While around 75 percent of Americans say that they regularly sit down to family meals, only 29 percent of those state they have family meals every day. Meanwhile, six in 10 parents of kids under the age of 18 say they wish they had family dinners more frequently. What happened to the good old tradition of sitting down, every evening, talking about your day with your family, and indulging in a lengthy meal?

Today, it seems we’re so focused on getting more done that we aren’t concerned with touching base with our loved ones about how all of our pursuits are going. That being said, it can be difficult, as a parent, to know what to prioritize with your children since there isn’t time for it all. Should dinners be longer? Or should that time be reserved for extracurricular activities that help get your children into good colleges? Eating together as a family, beyond Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow, may impact your kid’s future more than any credit she adds to her college application. We spoke with a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor, Shanita Burgess, (IG: @shanita__b) about the importance of family meals.

Shanita Burgess

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Nobody wants to talk about it

“The world feels crazy right now in the dumpster fire that is 2020,” says Burgess. “In the midst of political unrest in the middle of a pandemic, it’s easy to want to check out emotionally as a misguided way to cope with the stress of this year.” One survey found that Americans are the unhappiest they have been in fifty years. Between the Coronavirus, elections, and financial hardship, there may be a lot of emotions Americans want to escape, and avoiding conversation-heavy family dinners could be one way to do so.

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