10 Benefits of eating together as a family



When is the last time you sat down as a family to eat a meal together?  Whether it’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner, your family will definitely benefit from sitting down together as a family and eating.  It’s not too late if your kids are already teens.  Start now!  You will never regret the time, and you can use this as a time to connect and teach your kids.


1.  Communication

Mealtime is a great time to put away the electronics (including cell phones), and connect with your family.  Kids are busy with homework, chores, sports, and lessons after school, so dinnertime is the perfect time to catch up on their day, and let them know about yours.  It’s a great time to go over any schedule changes and events of the week coming up.  We mix it up with having everyone tell the best and worst part of the day, highs and lows of their day, or ask trivia or favorites questions that everyone can answer.


2.  Lead by example

You can use this time to show your kids proper manners, etiquette, and prepare them for times eating out or with other families.  You can teach them which side of the plate the knife and fork go, that the napkin goes on their laps, that we wait until everyone is served, and what’s acceptable and what’s not when eating with others.


3.  Part of the Whole

You can show kids that they are part of a unit, your family.  You can help them feel welcome to share whatever is on their hearts without being judged because family loves no matter what.  Eating at home can make a big difference as well.  Eating out is fine, but conversations with our children can get lost in the noise and action of the other diners.  At home, you can take the time to focus on what is being said instead of manners, and making sure everyone is behaving.  Having your children help with the meal can also help them to feel involved, and a big part of the family togetherness.


4.  Healthy Eating & Trying New Foods

Kids can be picky eaters, but eating together as a family can help benefit in them trying new foods.  They can see the rest of the family eating something new and will join in.  Typically when eating together you make a home cooked meal.  These usually are healthier and offer a wider variety of foods.  Try theme nights.  My kids love it, and they actually are more apt to try something new.  I make my kids try one bite.  At least they’ve tried it!!  We’ve done different themes like, Italian, Mexican, Breakfast, Chinese, Greek, appetizer night, etc.  Anything fun usually gets kids motivated to try new things.


You can also teach your kids appropriate portion sizes, and have them pick a variety of foods.  Let’s face it, restaurant sizes these days are huge, and my kids tend to eat most of their favorite things first…usually the non healthy parts!  If we serve up something new or a side that my kids don’t like, we have them try it.  I usually serve 2 vegetables or a salad at dinner, so they just get a bigger portion of the other.


5.  Helping Them to Become Independent & Self-Sufficient

This is the perfect time to get your kids involved in the meal. Have them help with meal planning, cooking, and serving to show them they are an important part of your family.  Younger kids can help set the table, mix, tear lettuce.  Older kids can help cut up vegetables or mix casseroles.  Don’t forget to use this time to teach…little ones can practice counting, and older children can practice fractions.


6.  You can Save Money 

Eating together can include going out to eat, but when you dine in, you save by making your own meal.  An average cost of a family to eat out is around $25 for a fast food type restaurant.  If you just went out twice a week, and adds up to $2,600 per year.


7. Statistics

Statistics show that children who eat dinner at home with their families have lower rates of substance abuse, depression, and obesity, do better in school, and feel more connected to their parents.  Just remember spending time, whether eating at home, on a project, or doing their favorite things, your child can benefit from these statistics.


8.  You can teach kids to pray

Praying before a meal can give you at least once a day that you are opening up and sharing your heart with your kids.  You can teach them, and have them pray for everyone.  Not only does it make them feel special to be the one praying for all of the family, it will help them pray for others and other’s needs as well.


9.  Teachable Moments

You can use dinnertime as a time to teach language and grammar skills important for school.  You can talk kids through something going on with a friend or at school.  For little ones, you can use it as a time to count, tell colors, opposites, and many more.


10.  It’s just plain fun

I love to sit around my table and see each of my kids, and hear about their lives.  There is something special when you sit around and share a meal, especially if they took the time and effort to help with it.  With our questions there are usually tons of laughs and fun going around.



Remember, you don’t have to sit around a table and share a meal to benefit from these.  I realize people have crazy work schedules, and just can’t make it happen sometimes.  Any block of time that becomes part of the schedule can be used as your special time together.  Kids thrive on routine, and whether it’s dinner, dessert time, or bedtime, your kids will love the together time.



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