Your 8-year-old now
Your child may be a motormouth who happily narrates her day for you. Eights typically love to describe their interests to their parents, whether it's the intricacies of life on Club Penguin or the latest trading-card game. They tell stories about their day that are shaped with a beginning, a middle, and an end. They're also focused on rules and instructions, working out how things are "supposed to be."
This chatty behavior reflects your child's increasingly sophisticated thinking and language skills. She can describe in detail, categorize, understand rules, negotiate, and think sequentially.
Of course not all children are equally talkative. Kids with reserved personalities may speak up less to everybody, including their parents. But these same underlying thought processes are there.
Your life now
Children who eat with their families tend to do better in school, have lower rates of obesity, and make better choices later in life about habits like smoking and drug use.
The family meal doesn't have to start with you calling "Dinner's ready!" Involve your child in the preparation, such as setting the table or tearing lettuce for a salad. Teach simple dishes that she can prepare on her own, even if it's simply opening a can of vegetables, putting them in a dish, and microwaving them.
During the meal, a few simple ground rules can make the time together pleasant for everyone: 1) No outside distractions (screen time, phone answering, texting under the table). 2) No clean-your-plate rules. Let your child choose what to eat (from what's served) and how much. 3) Serve everyone the same things.
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