The value of family meals

As a pediatrician, I encourage sit-down meals at every wellness visit. Structured meal-time has been shown to build self-esteem and communication skills, minimize toxic stress effects on the developing brain, facilitate healthy attachments with caregivers, impact the child’s perception of food and nutrition — the list continues.

COVID-19 has had profound effects on structure and routine. In some households, COVID has kept families close either from the gift of being able to work from home or from the hardship of unemployment. Many families have taken advantage of this, sitting down together to share food and conversation.

In other families, however, work has continued outside of the home, now with the added risk of spreading COVID. After-work greetings are dangerous until decontaminated. There is rational hesitancy to connect in the ways we had before.  

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