When I was growing up, my family always ate dinner together. As a parent, I’ve realized just how important sharing family meals really are.
It’s the start of a new year, and it’s a great time to start new family traditions. This year is the perfect time to start family meals together if you don’t already.
Growing up, I remember having dinner with both of my parents and my sister most nights of the week. Of course, there were nights that it didn’t work out. Nights that we weren’t all eating at the same time. Nights that someone was out late. But as often as possible, we all sat down to family meals together.
Originally Published On: January 2, 2018
Last Updated On: April 21, 2020
Scheduling a Family Meal
When I was in high school, I played on the Varsity Girl’s Golf Team all four years. During the Fall season, there were often nights I would be home late from practice or a match, so I missed the family dinner. But that was my choice to play on the team, and it was only a couple nights a week for a few months. Besides that, the most we missed a family meal all together was about once per week.
Depending on your family schedule, it doesn’t have to be dinner that you eat together. Maybe you are all getting up in the morning at the same time, and breakfast is a meal that you can share. For our family, since Justin and I both work from home, we tend to eat all three meals together, but I know that isn’t a possibility for most families.
It’s better if you can do the meal without tv or radio or other distractions, but it’s not necessary. For a long time, we watched Gilmore Girls during dinner. It was on ABC Family right at the time we always ate dinner. We all loved watching it, even my dad (who probably wouldn’t admit it today!).
But why? Why should you make it a point to have at least one family meal together?
4 Main Reasons to Have Family Meals Together
Together we make a family.
There’s a reason that quote is so popular. You aren’t a family if you are by yourself. You are a family when you are together. By eating a meal with each other every day, it helps to build this sense of togetherness.
Chance to Talk
Communication is always critical to any relationship, including that of husband and wife, parent and child, sibling to sibling. In other words, families need to communicate. When you are all sitting around the same table, it gives you a chance to be able to talk. You can talk about your day, talk about what’s going on in your lives. Talk about anything that’s making you happy or anything bothering you. You can talk about family matters and plans. This is one time per day that you can count on being together to talk with each other.
Just as a family meal is a great time to talk, it’s also a perfect time to come together every day to have a moment of calm. Our schedules are always so busy; sometimes we don’t know if we are coming or going. When we sit down at the table, even if we only have a short amount of time, it’s still time that we have carved out together. It’s time that we can spend without running here and there. It’s a rare moment of calmness that the family can spend together.
Whether you realize it at the time or not, by spending this time together every day you are creating strong family bonds. These are the types of relationships that you don’t appreciate until they are long past. Now, at almost 30, I can look back at the time we spent together as a family and realize how precious that time was. And how much it has molded me into who I am today.
Work Together on the Meal
Bonus points if you can work on the meal together. My mom has never been much of a cook, so my dad is the one who usually made dinner for us all. I always enjoyed helping him make the meals, and we would go grocery shopping together most of the time as well. When you get your kids to help with the meal, it gives them a sense of pride in accomplishing the task and will sometimes make even picky eaters try something new.
28 thoughts on “4 Important Reasons You Should Have Family Meals”
Growing up, we always ate together as a family. Now that I’m married and a mother, not so much. I wish i could put my finger on why. We do eat together several times a week, we do, but not all the time. We do spend a lot of time together in other areas – playing games, watching movies. Maybe it’s a trade off 🙂
I would definitely say that’s a pretty good trade-off. My boys are too young still to play many games, and they won’t sit still long enough to watch a movie together, so it isn’t usually an option.
I think that too. Eating together as a family is a chance to keep in touch and increase the bonds you have.
It may not be perfect, but it definitely helps!
We try to have dinner together as much as possible. My husband works several nights a week so on those nights he is usually unable to join us, but the kids and I eat together and when he is home, he joins us.
My husband has evenings he isn’t home as well. The important thing is to do it as often as you can!
In my entire relationship with my husband eating meals together has been a huge thing. It’s the best time to communicate, make plans, and really focus on us. I recently found out someone I know has never done this with her family and it made their relationship make so much more sense and made me feel so sad. They are definitely missing out on a huge bonding moment. Love your reasons and I hope more people start to do this!
Oh my gosh, I can’t imagine never having meals together. Before we were married, my husband and I often had different schedules because we were both in college and working, but we still tried to have at least one meal together as often as we possibly could. Even when it meant me bringing food to his coworking area during his graduate program!
This is great advice and I should apply that to my goals for 2018. Only me and my younger daughter has a steady schedule. My husband schedule changes constantly , My older daughter is a junior in College and her schedule varies and we seem never to have the four of us on the table anymore. I will try my best to make it happen whenever I can.
It’s hard when the schedules are so different. Even if it isn’t every night, at least trying for once a week or so would be good. It may help to have a schedule…. every Wednesday we eat together, for example, and you can try to plan around it.
I agree completely. It makes such a big difference when families sit down together and reflect on the day.
It’s so helpful to be able to unwind together and share our days with each other.
When I was growing up eating together was not a priority in my family and I always regretted that. Now that I have my own family I make it a point to eat together every single day.
It’s funny how it goes both ways. You didn’t do it growing up, so you make a point to now. I did, and know how important it felt so make sure my family has meals together.
This is something I feel is important but it still hasn’t worked its way into our normal daily routine yet (during the week anyway). My husband works later than the kids can wait for dinner so I typically feed them early and then he and I eat late. It’s not ideal, but at least we do big family dinners on the weekends and spend lots of time together then too.
You have to do what you can with kids. I understand them not waiting, my youngest son sometimes asks for dinner at about 3pm! But at least you and your husband still get time together, and as you said, you still get the big family meals on the weekend.
I feel like this is super important! We all have dinner together (or as we call it, tea) but it’s difficult as my stepdad works shifts. However, if he’s home for dinner, we set the time for the meal to be when he comes in and we talk about the day. Then if he’s not there, my mother and I will eat together. I definitely think it’s important and is a big bonding thing.
I used to have dinner ready when my husband walked in the door when he worked a full-time job for the same reason. Now that he works from home, it’s a little easier. Either way, you are still having that time with your family which is most important.
Dinner as a family is something that we really strive for. It gives us time to talk about our day and to get insight into what is going on in each other’s lives. It’s a time to just relax.
Dinner is a perfect time of day for that! Glad you are able to do it with your family!
I love all of these reasons to eat dinner together. I always loved how I ate with my family when I was growing up. It was definitely a chance to bond and get together for some quality time.
Same here! We ate together as often as possible and now I continue that with my children!
Amen love! We eat together on the weekends. I wish we did it more! As a child we ate dinner together every night and especially on Sundays. It’s one of my favorite memories as a child and even into my teenage years.
At least you have the weekends. Any family dinners are better than none at all!
I agree that it is so important to eat together as a family and we try to do so as often as we can. Unfortunately with my husband’s work schedule and my frequent travels, it doesn’t always work that way. It will probably change once my littles are older and in school full-time.
I definitely notice that we are on more of a schedule during the school year, and it helps a lot to be able to take the time together since it’s the only time we have some days.
I love this! We eat together as a family every night and I can tell it makes a big difference!
I’m glad you are able to make it work for you and your family! I know it made a huge impact on me growing up and I hope it has the same positive memories for my boys as they get older.