It’s important to eat dinner as a family but with piano, soccer, tae kwon do, dance, violin & baseball, kids are inundated with activities. More often than not, these extra-curriculars impose on the quality time families get to spend together. The need for our children to be exposed to sports, arts and dance is getting in the way of family dinner time. Kids are being rushed off to practices, games, lessons and classes the minute they step outside the classroom at the cost of a bonding relationship which takes place at the family dinner table.
So why is it important to eat dinner as a family?
Food has always been a way of bringing people together either during feasts, celebrations or banquets. Since the beginning of our human story, sharing of food is a means of extending ourselves to one another. So naturally, having everyone sit down around a table eating not only nourishes our body but it also nourishes our relationships.
Sitting down eating dinner as a family allows everyone to discuss their day including the highs and lows. Maybe there is something on your child’s mind that they haven’t had the opportunity to express to you but now that everyone is listening intently, they’re more free to share.
Talking about current events as a family might be another way to get a good glimpse into what your children are hearing or seeing around them. This might offer up an opportunity for you to clarify something that has been pressing on their mind or maybe it’s just neat to see their point of view on a certain subject.
Having dinner as a family also lends to positive conversational skills. The ability to look each other in the eye or take turns, may be a great way to build interpersonal skills in the security and familiarity of the family dynamics. Letting each family member talk allows for everyone to practice being an active listener.
Praying before family dinner and giving thanks is a great way to build a bonding relationship amongst family. Going around the table and saying what you’re thankful for may be a way of role modelling positive habits that will have an impact on your children and their future families.
Fundamentally, eating dinner as a family enables you to teach your children good nutrition. Making sure they eat all of their dinner including their vegetables or at least try new foods is great way to stay on top of their diet. Even cooking dinner together could be an awesome way to get the children involved during family dinner time.
There are so many reasons for family dinner time to the most important time of the day. It’s the one hour in which everyone is together without phones, tablets, tv, screens etc… It’s a time of reflection and intimacy.
I know it’s not possible for families to eat dinner together every night but perhaps aim for 4-5 times per week. Move your dinner hour to a time when everyone is home. I know some families that eat at 7pm because that’s the only time they can all come together. Whatever it takes, carve out that time with each other, I’m positive it won’t be something you’ll regret!