Chew on this: Why Family Dinners Mean So Much

I feel fortunate to have grown up with the daily ritual of eating dinner together as a family. Almost every evening around 5:00 my family would congregate at the dinner table sharing stories, discussing current events, and enjoying each other’s company. No matter how busy life was, our dinners together always helped to keep us connected. Now, with children of my own, I realize just how important it is to maintain this particular tradition as best I can.

When my first daughter was born, dinner time usually meant making sure the baby was fed first, and then my husband and I would set up the TV trays and eat in front of the TV. We were tired. So tired. Cooking a meal was the last thing I really wanted to do so dinner consisted of something fairly quick and easy to make; a lot of pasta and grilled chicken from what I can recall. The dining room table was primarily used for piling mail and other miscellaneous items. As our daughter grew older, dinnertime changed as well. A change for the better. We began using the dining room table for more than just a decoration and dust collector. We started eating together, at the same time, the same table, and facing one another instead of the television.

Did you know that research shows there are also some very significant benefits to eating dinner together as a family? A few of the advantages seen in children who partake in frequent family dinners include:

  • Eat healthier
  • More likely to stay away from drugs and alcohol
  • Better grades in school
  • More likely to open up about serious problems

Family dinner has now become the perfect opportunity to step away from our cell phones, turn off the television, and appreciate each other’s company and conversation. We all know how busy and rushed our day to day life can be. Sitting down together to share a meal (whether it’s home cooked, takeout, or out at a restaurant) is the perfect opportunity for my family to slow down, relax, and stay connected.

Our family dinners might not always resemble this beautiful Norman Rockwell painting, but the most important thing is that we're together!
Our family dinners might not always resemble this beautiful Norman Rockwell painting, but the most important thing is that we’re together!

3 thoughts on “Chew on this: Why Family Dinners Mean So Much

  1. I have really fond memories of family dinners. And now we try really hard to do family dinners and are successful most nights. I love hearing about my daughter’s day.

  2. I totally hear you about the benefits of eating together. We ate together as a family growing up and I remember those times fondly. I will admit though that we don’t eat dinner together every night but we try for most nights. It’s really important to my husband that we eat as a family at the table.

  3. This came right on time for me! My family and I have had a ton of changes over the past few weeks and with all of that change, comes new starts. One thing that i have worked on changing is our evening routines and that includes dinners together. I am not proud to say that before we all rarely ate together at the same time during the week. The only times really being when we would go OUT to eat. Well, we moved the coffee table out of our living room, which is where my boys USED to eat….and watch television (i know, i know) and now only have a dining room table. It forces us to eat together, no matter how tired we are. Sometimes it is just me and the boys, because my husband isn’t quite 100% on board- but that is a huge immprovement and my boys LOVE it! They are still young enough to where they want to be around me every second of every day and they want to update me on every aspect of their life. I think that i caught them in time to make it “just something that we do” that will carry us into their pre teen and teenage years.

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