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Benefits of Having Family Dinners for Children

Updated on November 2, 2014
children appreciate their parents when they share family dinners together.
children appreciate their parents when they share family dinners together. | Source

Family meals together makes kids appreciate parents more

A couple of generations ago, eating dinner together at meal time was the rule rather than the exception. Things have certainly changed and in most people's opinion not for the better. Studies have revealed having a family meal at the end of the day is a positive thing countless individuals are missing out on. Not only do they skip this wonderful time to enjoy each one another's company, but there are tons of other advantages. Getting together once each day for a half hour or more eating makes an enormous difference in how children behave, see themselves and view a parent according to scientific research. Find out what else it adds to benefit the lives of parents and kids alike.

All for one and one for all

Experts agree dinners frequently keep lines of communication flowing freely for between these two camps. It creates a feeling of being connected to each other. This is an ideal setting to begin conversations and keep them going. Kids are afforded the opportunity to verbalize in their own words what the happenings are in their lives. Listen and hear more than ever before.

The mere act of displaying a foundation or support system for offspring lets them know they are a priority as well as giving a feeling of good will and security.

Listen and then advise

When listening avoid jumping to conclusions, assumptions or passing judgment. Simply hear what they are saying, acknowledge the emotion and state of mind being conveyed. Only then offer counsel or at the very least wisdom of being an adult and having been in their position. Kids generally refuse to believe this was ever a possibility. Though, most of the time we discover they actually do hear what is being said to them out of love and concern.

There are statistics backing the expert’s opinions these get together dinners create a deeper bond and more interaction on a personal level for everyone attending. Breaking bread as a unit reduces the risk of having children abuse drugs and shows girls of these same families experience less eating disorders.

Make a change

Many parents and families that adhere to these activities knew deep down there were benefits to this type of behavior. Common sense tells us so. However, this data or empirical information simply supports the idea with facts. Making the changes necessary to see this happen are never easy.

Knowing it and doing something about it is two different things. Some individuals don't even know where to begin the changes needed. If looking for a little help to get things started, there are sources already working in your favor.

Barilla Pasta helps out

Barilla is a pasta company that took a step to help make this easier. The corporation started a partnership with parents, grandparents and other guardians, along with children between the ages of 8 and 18 years. The questions asked pertained to sharing meals and what their thoughts on the matter happened to be.

A little more than 60% of kids admitted that they felt their parents were more relaxed when they had everyone around the dinner table at the same time. While 40% of parents admitted that cell phones were a definite no-no during family dinnertime. Having the family together and relaxed without the distractions of cell phones, for both parents and children, were admittedly bonuses for the entire family.

Making the teen years work

A lot of parents fear the teen years are more than difficult to work in this capacity. The teens are certainly when change comes along with how kids see a parent. This is a time in life when children don’t want to be with mom and dad on a routine basis the same as when they were a 10 year old. This is not always necessarily true. Even when things change they remain the same. More time is spent with friends than family, but parents and kids still belong together.

This was a false assumption, the feeling kids do not want you or need you. When children were questioned about spending meal time with their parents there was no statistically difference between children in the age range of 8-12 versus 13-18. Both age groups readily admitted they enjoyed family dinners. Therefore, the supposition teenagers were less likely to enjoy the mealtime as a family is a false one. The ten year old who enjoyed it turns into the 16 year old that does as well. Although time constraints make if more of a task as they grow older, they still like the occasion.

When it doesn't work

Some parents discover they aren't having the same amount of meals as a family as their kids grow older. This is still not a bad thing. It is to be expected. Not only have joint mealtimes lessened, but all around as kids age their circle of friends grow as well as activities outside of the home. Whether spending more time with the church youth group or joining the football team, they are becoming their own person. Having fewer meals at home at the end of the day is certainly not a great thing, but better than none.

Maybe changing the venue helps. The dinner table moving to a restaurant or other setting works just the same. Set up a standing invite. Maybe only one night a week is free from other obligations. Whatever works for everyone is what works best.

What to talk about

Numerous parents would like to have a family dinner with their children, but are afraid of what to discuss. They would like to find conversation topics that will enhance this time together rather than take away from it. There are several things to know about your conversation during dinner that can make this happen;

· Countless parents feel the need to question tweens and teens specifically about their friends and their day. It’s okay to have a conversation about these things. Though, resist the urge to “grill” them about this information. Additionally, its better conversation and you will gain more if you permit them to bring the topics up in conversation.

· Don’t gossip, have a discussion. However, make the conversation as positive as possible. You want children to associate this time with good and light conversation topics.

· Talk about hard things or tough issues. Though, save them for after dinner or desert

· Chat about newsworthy events

· Exchange info on health and nutrition

· Yak up something positive about a family friend or family member

· Try to include everyone in the chatter as much as possible. Don’t allow anyone to feel excluded or left out.

· Some meals may have more conversation than others-this is okay. Every meal won’t be a talk-a-thon

· Don’t turn dinner into lecture time

· Don’t discuss everything negative that is occurring in your life at this time.

Numbers never lie

Almost 70% of children, that is 7 out of every ten, agreed they appreciate their parents more when they have meal time together.

If you don’t already take the time to enjoy meals as a family and with your children, start today. It is not too late and every little bit will count. If you are only able to have breakfast or dinner together it will count for something with your children and don’t view the exercise as an all or none.

In conclusion

Before you know it they are gone from out of the house and you will long for a happier time when you had this short visit with each other every day. There are enormous benefits to your children of having family dinners.

Teenagers do more than think of themselves. Occasionally they think of parents(smile). Try to discover ways to get together for the last meal of the day. Unconventional is possibly the way to go in lots of cases. Find a different table to dine at.
Teenagers do more than think of themselves. Occasionally they think of parents(smile). Try to discover ways to get together for the last meal of the day. Unconventional is possibly the way to go in lots of cases. Find a different table to dine at.

Amazon is always full of wisdom. This is a wonderful book about The Dinner by Herman Koch

© 2011 smcopywrite


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    • smcopywrite profile image

      smcopywrite 6 years ago from all over the web

      thank you for the comment danette. there is a lot to be said for old school when it comes to some things.

    • Danette Watt profile image

      Danette Watt 6 years ago from Illinois

      There have been studies that show children who eat dinner with their families, do better in school. Probably there is discussion of current events, parents asking about their day and son. Nice hub, made me remember family dinners growing up and meals we had with our kids.

    • smcopywrite profile image

      smcopywrite 6 years ago from all over the web


      my grandparents had family dinners which was passed on to my parents which they passed to me and i have passed on to my children.

    • Lyricallor profile image

      Lorna Lorraine 6 years ago from Croydon

      I believe this hub is both useful and interesting. My children are adults with their own families, but we always had family style dinners, the way I had with my parents.


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