I feel fortunate to have grown up with the daily ritual of eating dinner together as a family. Almost every evening around 5:00 my family would congregate at the dinner table sharing stories, discussing current events, and enjoying each other’s company. No matter how busy life was, our dinners together always helped to keep us connected. Now, with children of my own, I realize just how important it is to maintain this particular tradition as best I can.
When my first daughter was born, dinner time usually meant making sure the baby was fed first, and then my husband and I would set up the TV trays and eat in front of the TV. We were tired. So tired. Cooking a meal was the last thing I really wanted to do so dinner consisted of something fairly quick and easy to make; a lot of pasta and grilled chicken from what I can recall. The dining room table was primarily used for piling mail and other miscellaneous items. As our daughter grew older, dinnertime changed as well. A change for the better. We began using the dining room table for more than just a decoration and dust collector. We started eating together, at the same time, the same table, and facing one another instead of the television.
Did you know that research shows there are also some very significant benefits to eating dinner together as a family? A few of the advantages seen in children who partake in frequent family dinners include:
- Eat healthier
- More likely to stay away from drugs and alcohol
- Better grades in school
- More likely to open up about serious problems
Family dinner has now become the perfect opportunity to step away from our cell phones, turn off the television, and appreciate each other’s company and conversation. We all know how busy and rushed our day to day life can be. Sitting down together to share a meal (whether it’s home cooked, takeout, or out at a restaurant) is the perfect opportunity for my family to slow down, relax, and stay connected.