Benefits of Sitting Down to Dinner As a Family

Today’s multi-tasking lifestyle does not involve just working parents; even very young children are going from one activity to the next in a seemingly endless cycle. When juggling obligations seems overwhelming, the family dinner can serve as a restful oasis. Making this practice into a habit may seem like a daunting prospect, but the benefits are numerous.


As parents, we already know the importance of reading to our children. However, books don’t furnish the interactive qualities that active dialogue over the dinner table do. While young children learn to listen to the nuances of talk and contribute where they can, they are learning vocabulary by osmosis. Meanwhile, their older siblings are provided with a safe place to bring up the doings of their day, receive adult feedback and even test out new ideas and theories.

Nutritional Pluses

When everyone in the family knows that dinner will be on the table at a particular time and will be a communal affair, the tendency to binge on unhealthy snack foods is markedly reduced. Children of all ages can be given the opportunity to try small quantities of unfamiliar foods, and parents can model portion control. This is a lesson that can benefit kids throughout their entire lives.

Cultivate Connections

Of course, no family is perfect, and all relationships have their rocky times. When families continue to eat together and be civil, kind and polite even during tense periods, a strong bond will form over time. In many ways, the family meal is also the precursor to the compulsory relationships that children will one day have with their work colleagues. Since all parties are bound together by blood or responsibility, the family dinner shows even young children how to get along even under the tensest conditions.

Reduces Parental Stress

If you are one of the primary care-givers for one or more people, you know how difficult it can be to coordinate meals, particularly given everyone’s busy school and sports schedules. Many parents even fall into a short-order cook habit of preparing what each person in the family wants when they want it. The family meal helps to remove a great deal of that tension. Just make easy dinner recipes that everyone will at least tolerate, announce that the one and only meal is taking place at a specific time and be sure that you are consistent. Most of us, kids included, thrive on structure. You will be amazed to see how quickly your family actually comes to enjoy this part of the day.

If figuring out how to have a family dinner every day seems impossible, start with one evening a week. Find dinner ideas that don’t require extravagant recipe lists or hours to prepare. Then sit down with your closest circle of loved ones, break bread together and enjoy the moment.