Family Dinner Time – Why Eating Together is Important

Family dinner time is one of my favorite times of day.  Do you sit down with your family often to enjoy a meal together?  Today I want to talk about why it’s important.

family dinner time

Almost every night our family sits down together for dinner.  This is such an important time for our family because we get to chat and share about our day.

During the day it is busy around here.  Breakfast is all about fending for yourself for the most part, lunch is me tossing something on the table for the kids while I devour something in the kitchen in between checking things off my never ending to-do list, and in between meals we are busy getting school work and homestead chores done.

My husband is gone all day at work, and the kids are excited every night to see him return. Sitting down as a family for dinner is an intentional way to bring us all together so we can build closer relationships.



At dinner we laugh, we relax, and we can just be ourselves. We fill each other in on what happened during our day.  Time together every night encourages our kids to talk to us and be open with us.  Our children share everything with us because they know they can come to us with anything.  Having a family dinner time is just one other way they are connecting with us and are reminded that home is a safe place for them.  It encourages us to have good communication with one another.

And look, I’m just going to be honest.  My family LOVES food.  Like, a LOT.  I’d love to say it was just my kids who ask for a snack 5678 times a day that have a deep love for food, but they clearly get that love from both my husband and I.  At dinner time tonight when the kids asked what foods their Dad and I didn’t like, we both looked at eachother and struggled to come up with an answer.

Because, if it’s food we probably like it.

Aside from family dinner time being just plain enjoyable, there are many studies that have been done that state the benefits of eating with your family.  Multiple studies have found that kids tend to make healthier choices,  receive better grades in school, have good communication skills, and lower stress levels.  According to studies, parents tend to have less stress too when they make family dinner time a priority.  And let’s not forget to mention that the more often you are having family dinner time at home, the less you are eating out which means your wallet will thank you!

While I am no scientific expert, I believe so many studies have led to these discoveries because the family dinner table is one way you can be intentional about connecting with your children and your spouse. We can have a super stressful day, but we can always look forward to mealtime where we can forget the burdens we are carrying for a little while and laugh and chat with the ones we love.

Your kids may have had a bad day at school, feeling lonely or defeated, but at the dinner table they are loved.  At the dinner table they are given attention.  No one is judging them.  They can just be themselves.

Can you be intentional with our children without having a regular dinnertime together?  Of course you can.  However, we lead such busy lives that it can be difficult to make time for our family.  Work and responsibilities easily get in the way.  Our kids have their own responsibilities with extra-curriculars, homework, and school commitments.  Sometimes life takes over and we realize we have barely seen eachother all week!


So, what does family dinner time look like?  Well, I don’t think there is one size that fits all.  For us our children are not involved in too many extra-curriculars and my husband works regular daytime hours so we are able to have dinner together usually 6 out of 7 days a week.  I realize that isn’t possible for everyone.  You or your spouse may work shift work.  Your kids may have extra-curriculars right around dinner time.

So maybe family dinner time can only be a few times a week.  Or maybe family dinner time is actually family breakfast time or family lunch time.  Or even family afternoon snack time!

What time of day it happens is not what is important.  What IS important is that you do it!  It is a great way to connect with your family.

Make sure eating together does not involve sitting in front of the TV, or using your cellphones or any other electronics at the dinner table.  Our kids are too young to have phones, but my husband and I both put our phones down when it comes to eating dinner together.  It’s easy to get distracted but dinner is the one time we put away those distractions and completely focus on each other….and the food of course. 🙂

You don’t have to be a chef to do it either.  At our house we love homemade meals, but some days I’m serving bacon and eggs or oatmeal for dinner, because that’s all I have energy for.  Some days dinner looks like beautiful dishes, other times I’m pulling out the paper plates.  Some days we are all put together as we enjoy dinner, other times we are still in our pajamas (okay, we’re homeschoolers – that last one happens way more than I care to admit. 🙂 Don’t judge – they’re cozy in the winter.)

Depending on the age of your children will determine what your family dinner looks like as well.  Toddlers and small children have short attention spans.  Your family dinner may be much shorter in length.  That’s okay.  Even 15-20 minutes at the table together can give you a chance to connect.

For me I absolutely love this time of day with my family.  I love listening to my daughter tell us stories, or my middle son crack some jokes, or my youngest son giggle and look at me with a big grin on his face.  I love listening to the way my husband and kids interact, and witnessing the way my kids adore their Dad.  I love using this time as another way for my husband and I to chat about what happens in each other’s lives when we are apart during the day and feeling like we are on the same page with what is going on.  When we sit down each night for dinner, and we reach out to hold hands around the table as we pray, we know we have much to be thankful for and feel blessed to enjoy another night spending time with the ones we love.

What about you?  Do you have dinner around the table with your family? What kinds of things happen around your dinner table?  Lively discussions or debates?  Joke telling?  Sharing stories or having deep heart-to-hearts? Whatever it may be, if you are connecting in a positive way you are bound to strengthen your bond with the ones you love.

Related: Cheap Date Night Ideas






6 thoughts on “Family Dinner Time – Why Eating Together is Important”

  1. We are empty nesters and retired so we have said it all during the day. We miss having the kids at the dinner table but now that they are adults they have a tendency to talk politics and rather heatedly when they are all home. We have to eat in both the kitchen and the dining room when they are home to visit because there are 18 of us so we get the best table which is the kitchen table with all the grandchildren!

  2. The experience of eating together as a family has changed several times over the years.

    Money has always been scarce, first being an economically abused wife and then being a single, happily divorced mom of four.

    Our common meal as a family has usually been lunch, right after the children came home from school, and a very frugal dinner with newly baked bread and soup.

    When the children were in junior level school, they all enjoyed these meals, and so did I, since they were filling, hot and with nice company, telling each other what had happened during the day.

    When the children began junior high and high school, though, they stopped approving of the frugal meals I had to make for them. They wanted the same foods as their class mates, friends and neighbour children, something that I couldn’t provide for them on my small income.
    Meal time together became a time of bickereing and complaining and every day some of the children would walk from the table, having refused to eat, and leaving the house to eat at friend’s homes.
    Every day, someone would disapprove of the food I could serve. There was simply no way I could cook the food that other people cooked with enough servings of meat, mince, fish, chicken parts, sauces, condiments and so on. All I could afford was cheap starches and a minimal amount of chicken or mince, sometimes with some vegetables, and always served in different ways. The homemade breads I made to go with meals was always newly baked and served warm, but most of the time, I could not afford sandwich toppings, so they would haver to eat it plain or with soup.
    Eating together under these circumstances became increasingly unbearable, and this situation lasted for several years.

    My children are now university students and simultaneously have extra jobs. The small matrimony that my exhusband used to give them has been stopped, since they are all above the age of 18, and so I have even less money than before.
    Now, they all pinch in and help buying food. Food that is too expensive for me to buy and foods that they like. They have agreed to take turns to cook, since I have stopped cooking (due to illness), and now they invite me for delicious dinners, and we sit down and enjoy family meals together, and we are all so happy about it, enjoying our meal time together once again!

    In order to make family dinner time a happy occasion, I recommend trying to cook something that everyone likes to eat or at least a side dish for the one who doesn’t likes today’s dinner. That is easier said than done sometimes, and particularly if money is extremely tight. Now, luckily, noone of us ever went hungry. The parents of my children’s friends knew about our situation, having to live a sub-par life during my marriage as well as post-divorce, and they always helped out!

    It was a great relief when my children grew up and could begin to help buy the foods they like and cook it too, and we are so happy for our family dinners now!

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am sure your kids can now look back and see what a sacrifice you made for them and how you made the most of what you had. How wonderful that they all pitch in to help now!

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