TODAY   |  September 18, 2013

How long should family dinner last?

Eating dinner as a family could have a beneficial impact on your children’s overall mental health, grades, and body weight, among other things. A new study advises making the most of family meals by serving courses restaurant-style to prolong the dining experience.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> when you eat dinner together it leads to better grades, stronger relationships. overall, good mental health . do you do that?

>> yeah.

>> how long should family dinner be?

>> half an hour.

>> are you counting the microwaving time?

>> no, the actually sitting around time?

>> about 30 or 40 minutes.

>> a half hour.

>> one family said it can be as little as 8 minutes which i think is too little. how can you make the most of your family dinner? you turn off the tv and the phones. serve sources as though you were in a restaurant. that stretches the time-out and parents say small, fun dishes can get the conversation going. get the kids to help with the dinner and avoid school and grades.

>> that's what we always talked about, what did you learn at school today?

>> when kids get to be a certain age, especially boys.

>> they go silent.

>> radio silence on that.

>> what's the best part of your day.

>> we used to play who stole the cookie from the cookie jar . is that just -- do you remember that?

>> at dinner.

>> after dinner.

>> did you sing 99 bottles of beer .

>> no, that was later. we