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As all parents know, mealtimes can be a chore. Between fussy eaters and toddlers who won’t stay put, it can sometimes be tempting to plonk kids down in front of the TV or the computer in their bedroom when dinnertime rolls around.

Well, if a new survey by Birds Eye is to be believed, it seems many parents in the UK are in fact giving into that temptation.

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If you can’t trust this man, who can you trust?

In a survey conducted by the frozen food brand, it was discovered that as many as one in four children in the UK now eat their evening meal in their bedroom. One in five no longer eat at the dinner table at all and a huge 78% now eat their meals in front of the TV. This was significantly higher than France, Germany and Italy where children were more likely to dine with their families.

But does this new trend really matter? Are we just clinging on to old traditions for the sake of it? How important is it that children eat with their families anyway?

According to Professor Tanya Byron, quite important indeed. “By eating together, focusing on each other and learning to enjoy each other’s company,” the parenting and childcare experts says, “families gain a variety of benefits, including improved communication and trust.”

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Research has shown that eating together has a wealth of other benefits for both you and your little ones too. For example toddlers have been found to learn up to 1000 new or rare words from listening to dinnertime conversation in comparison to only 143 from listening to their parents read aloud. Children were also found to do better at school, have improved confidence and social skills and to eat far healthier food than those who were left to eat alone in their bedrooms.

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This makes sense when you remember that parents have to eat what’s at the dinner table too…

But remember, none of this counts if the TV is on! The benefits of family dinners are all about conversation and developing bonds – which won’t happen if everyone’s glued to their favourite soap.

So what do you think? Are you a traditional dinner family or a TV troupe? Do you think it makes a difference to kids? Let us know in the comments!


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