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Establishing Healthy Eating Patterns In Children during Family Dinner

Updated on October 11, 2012

The Family Dinner Table

The dinner table setting influences children's behavior and development.
The dinner table setting influences children's behavior and development.

Just Eighteen Minutes A Day: Family Dinner Time

Did you know that most family dinners just take eighteen minutes? What happens during this short time has a profound affect on children and parents. Only fifty percent (50%) of families eat together and it tends to decrease as kids get older.

Studies show that families that regularly eat meals four or more times together per week:

  • Are more likely to have children who do better in school,
  • Are of average weight,
  • Are emotionally and socially stable
  • Establish healthy eating habits (and not prone to eating disorders),
  • Are less likely to use drugs and alcohol at an early age, and
  • Consume more fruits and vegetables

Source: elibary.bigchalk.com

Shared Family Dinners

Shared family dinners are highly encouraged in promoting healthy, well balanced children in today's society. During meals, families share the day's activities, talk about upcoming events, may tell jokes or just chat in general about interesting life happenings. What is most important is that the family is together, bonding and developing patterns for continued healthy eating.

Working parents find it difficult to gather the family together to enjoy a meal. Busy schedules, kid's sports or after school activities may interfere or deter regular meal times at home. Even though studies show families who eat together fives times per week are most likely to produce kids with greater social and intellectual skills, parents can still achieve the same results if they are able to eat together at least three to four times to connect as a family.

Family dinner is a time for parents to demonstrate or model good manners. As children observe how a parent serves meals, eats and converses they learn what is appropriate (we call this etiquette). The conversation around the table is an opportunity for children to acquire new language as they listen to others talk. Families who are open to discussing problems during meal time allow children to know that failures are a normal part of life but that problem solving is crucial in making things much better.

Keeping Dinner Simple

You do not have to have a seven course meal every night. Spaghetti, pizza, tacos, sandwiches are easy, quick, cheap meals that please most appetites, including children. Make a weekly menu and shop once a week using a list. Keeping the ingredients healthy helps in providing nutritional value. If you try new food items, make it for everyone to taste.


Family Dinner Quiz

Where does your family dine together the most?

See results

Family Dinner in the 1950's

Resources On Family Meal Preparation and Enjoyment

How To Make Dinner Enjoyable

Conversation: Use this time to stimulate discussions about your child's day. Use open-ended questions to help you to discover what is going on in their life, remember to keep from probing for answers as it only leads to silence. Make your discussion time positive and free from distractions such as having a TV on while you eat. Viewing TV while eating has been linked to obesity in children, which is another important reason to keep it off.

Traditions: When possible sit down at the family dining table and use special dinner ware. Allowing children to eat from china will help them to appreciate fine things, and if it is an heirloom you can share the history behind it. This will help them to connect and to feel a sense of belonging. Perhaps you can set some new traditions as well. Think of how your family can do this either through certain foods you serve or habits you can begin while eating.

Language: Talking with your children at the table can be used to build language and vocabulary. Describe food with new words. Talk about the taste using descriptive language and add colorful words to your conversation in general. Share topics that will invite discussion around word meanings and spelling. A Harvard Ed School study showed that, among 143 kids, children were able to learn language more readily at dinner time than when a parent read to them.

Grace: Saying a blessing over the meal allows children to express gratitude, experience good feelings such as happiness, and to demonstrate faith. Establishing this habit will encourage positive emotions, especially if they hold hands during the prayer. This interpersonal connection creates a sense of being a part of something much larger than themselves. Many families choose to sing a song, recite poems, make a toast or to just express things they are thankful for instead of prayer. The point is to engage in a form of thanksgiving and reflection of gratitude for life's blessings.


Get children involved in preparing dinner.  They will enjoy the food better.
Get children involved in preparing dinner. They will enjoy the food better.

Sample Dinner Conversation Starters

  • How many beans do you think are on your plate?
  • Which food do you think is the best today?
  • What would you call this dish if it were served at a restaurant?
  • What would be a great theme for our dinner tonight?

Preparing For A Good Dinner

With busy schedules, making dinner is often a challenge we hate to think about. The time it takes to make a good, healthy meal for the family is limited. You also have to deal with the patience of children who may be hungry and grumpy. Eating a sit-down meal at home is the preferred method in ensuring you provide for the nutritional needs of all family members, but when time is an issue eating out or having take-out is fine. You are still eating together and building a relationship.

For meal times at home, set the table before leaving for work in the morning or do it the night before. Get kids involved in making simple meals and preparing the table. Children tend to eat well when they help in making food; because they are involved they have a better appreciation of the meal.

Plan conversations and eat slowly. Rushing through the meal does not allow food to digest well and is a cause of overeating and obesity. The Society for Research in Child Development states that sharing a meal regularly can boost children's health and wellbeing, reducing the likelihood that they'll become obese or use drugs, and increase the chances that they will do well in school.

Sharing family dinner may be hard to maintain, but establishing this important time in your day on a regular basis will let your child know that they are valued and loved.

The View: Family Dinner Time Advice

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    • teaches12345 profile image
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      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      Jackie, I can't even balance my plate while sitting in front of the TV -- can't even imagine how a child would do! Glad your mom and siblings had some great family dinner moments. TAke care.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      My dad wasn't home much for meals because of his work schedule but we (my mom and four younger brothers) always ate at the table. We'd have never dreamed of taking a plate in front of the TV. I am so glad of that.

    • teaches12345 profile image
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      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      LA, glad you found time to bond with your childrena and make meal time a family ritual. It does make a difference to them and it will pave the way for better communication. Thanks for your reflection that adds so much value to the topic. Hope your day is going well. Blessings.

    • LA Elsen profile image

      LA Elsen 4 years ago from Chicago, IL

      Such a simple idea, but so difficult for so many families. I noticed my four children and I slowly breaking our family dining together rule when my husband began working different hours. The children were fast asleep when he came home and I would wait to eat with him. I was too busy serving them dinner to sit down and eat so I would end up eating really late and not so well. I decided to start making them make dinner with me. Even if it is just stirring the pasta or opening a can of vegetables, they all have their little jobs to contribute to out family table meal. Nice hub. Very important topic.

    • teaches12345 profile image
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      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Skye2day, yes, faith does play into how a family enriches their lives. It makes a great difference indeed. I am thankful for the way my parents helped me to understand this early in age. Jesus was always a welcome guest at our table. Blessings.

    • skye2day profile image

      skye2day 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      teaches I love this hub of yours sista. A great list of how to start and why it is so important for the family. Biblical truth as well. I love how you included grace. It is so sad to see a child that has no idea grace even exists. It happens often. So sad!!! I suppose if the parent does not know Jesus they are blinded no matter how meticulous the order of the meal don't leave out Jesus our Creator!!!

      Love your writing. Hugs Galore. Skye

    • teaches12345 profile image
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      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Hey Jools, I feel like I should be chatting with you across the family table. Wish we could! Good for you, it's hard to enforce, but she will understand eventually and appreciate your loving efforts. I think when i was a teen it was the tape player. Couldn't stand to not have it with me.

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Dianna, I have seen similar programmes. When we raise it with her, she puts her phone down but will not leave it away from the table - I'm sure she'll grow out of it but it is frustrating. I like the chance to all sit together and talk but she doesn't appreciate it as much as me I suppose.

    • teaches12345 profile image
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      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Jen, glad to hear that you eat together often and enjoy simple meals. No need to cook up a storm, just enjoy the peace of being together. Thanks for your support. Enjoy your family this evening. God bless you each.

    • jenbeach21 profile image

      jenbeach21 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Great hub with very important information. I agree that family dinners are beneficial to the whole family. We eat together as a family as often as possible and I only cook simple meals. Breakfast for dinner is another easy to cook meal that kids love! Shared and voted up!

    • teaches12345 profile image
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      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Jools, I just saw an episode of The Chew on TV in which they were discussing the table manners of people who have to chat on the phone while eating. It is a habit that should not be present at the table. It can wait for a brief 20 minutes to allow everyone to connect with family. Sorry for the frustration, hope that you can both discuss this and then enjoy some real-world chat time. :)

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Dianna, very interesting hub. There are only 3 of us at home and now that my daughter is working strange shifts, it is getting harder and harder to all sit down together but when she was a child, we always did it - now sadly, if we do ever all get to sit together, she's constantly distracted with her mobile phone, I suppose it's a sign of the times but it gets on my nerves :o(

    • teaches12345 profile image
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      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Macky, I am in total agreement: why can't we set aside just a few minutes during the day to bond with family? Dinner time is a great setting for this. Thanks for your support of the hub and your contribution.

    • profile image

      mackyi 5 years ago

      Thanks for sharing this hub Deb, you have certainly raised an issue that is of paramount importance! Nowadays, most parents are so busy with jobs and other family responsibilities that they can hardly the time to sit with their family and bond. However, no matter how busy we are, we do find the time to at least eat! So why can't we at least set aside this time to bond as a family, to address issues, laugh, to know what's going in the children's life etc ? Voted up interesting!

    • teaches12345 profile image
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      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Pamela, it's this nuclear family time that helps everyone bond and grow. Thank you for your contribution in thought. Valued always.

    • teaches12345 profile image
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      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Tillsontitan, I agree that eating with family is important. as much as possible. I love Sunday dinners best, it must make the week flow smoothly. Thanks for your added value here.

    • teaches12345 profile image
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      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Deborah, thank you for visit. I really am thankful for your sharing this. What is your link? I love ideas on healthy eating. Take care, friend.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 5 years ago from United States

      I was also raised where the whole family sat at the table together. I agree with you. It is not what is served that is important, but it is an opportunity to communicate with your children and teach them so many things. Great hub. Voted up, useful and interesting.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      There's always time to spend with your family and this is one of the best. You are so right, it not only teaches good eating habits but deepens family bonds...even if its just Sunday dinner...something to do as a family and something to look forward to! Your ideas always shine.

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 5 years ago from Iowa

      This is great advice. I'm going to share it on my Healthy Food Examiner Facebook page.

    • teaches12345 profile image
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      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      I love that idea and must look at the hub read. Thanks for sharing. I thank you also for being such a great supporter of my efforts. Always good to hear from you , dear friend.

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 5 years ago from USA

      Eating family dinners is important, yet we never did get that established in our family. These are great suggestions on how to accomplish that. I didn't realize it only took 18 minutes!

      When I read this article, I thought of a large family that let each of the children choose the feast of the day every December. They came up with some really interesting and creative ideas!

      http://prairiequilts.blogspot.com/2011_12_01_archi...

    • teaches12345 profile image
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      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Thanks for your visit and positive comment on the topic. I agree that it is almost a lost art, but we have to keep trying as it will make a difference later in life. Enjoy your Sunday.

    • lindacee profile image

      lindacee 5 years ago from Arizona

      What great suggestions, teaches. Shared dinner time is almost a lost tradition. As you said, dinner need not be a formal affair. Simple fare is all it takes to bring the family together at the dinner table!

    • teaches12345 profile image
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      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Hey, Alocsin, I used to set the table the night before when our son was home and it did help tremendously. Thanks for your support in votes and forwarding.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Sensible advice -- I particularly like the one about setting the table the night before to save some time. I'll be forwarding this to some families I know. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • teaches12345 profile image
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      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Hey, Cassy! I think the 18 minutes is the actual meal itself. If you c0unt setting the table, cooking, cleaning, it's probably over an hour. I find that men wolf things down so fast -- it's probably less than 10! He, he, he. I think you have found a great way to keep the family together at meals, Cassy.

    • CassyLu1981 profile image

      CassyLu1981 5 years ago from Spring Lake, NC

      Wow, I can't believe that the average household only spends 18 minutes on a family dinner. It takes me about that long to just set the table LOL We've always used family dinners as a way to learn about each others weeks and how life is going for everyone since the weeks are normally super busy. Excellent hub! Voted up and shared :)

    • teaches12345 profile image
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      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Thank you Sommer for your visit here I am glad to hear that the topic was of interest to you. Family dinner is really important and you can't beat the bonding that happens during meals. Enjoy your weekend.

    • SommerDalton profile image

      Sommer Dalton 5 years ago

      This hub is awesome! I loved reading it and think family diner is very important! Well written and very informative, voted up and more!

    • teaches12345 profile image
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      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      I was surprised to find dinner, on average, is so short. As you mentioned, if we remember to spend this time wisely, it will set the stage for a lifetime of goodness. I appreciate your contribution to the topic, Lady E. Well said!

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 5 years ago from London, UK

      I love it and families will have a stronger bond. The dinner times is short, but if spend wisely - gives kids a good foundation in life and i'm sure brings mum and dad closer together too. Thanks.

    • teaches12345 profile image
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      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      I love you cook-of-the-house idea, Clover. This would be such an enjoyable highlight for families. I don't doubt that your children will continue the traditions you have set for them. Full circle is completion!

      Leah, thank you for validating the hub with your comments. The "thank you bite" is a really good way to get kids to try foods. Some parents try to force their kids to eat everything on their plate and it tends to lead to frustration. Enjoy your weekend.

    • leahlefler profile image

      Leah Lefler 5 years ago from Western New York

      We always eat together and enjoy our evening meals. It is really beneficial to kids, as they learn manners - and beneficial to the parents, as they learn more about who their children are through conversation. We have a "thank you bite" rule, where the kids must take one "thank you bite" of everything on their plate to get dessert.

    • cloverleaffarm profile image

      Healing Herbalist 5 years ago from The Hamlet of Effingham

      Great hub. I was a single mom for years, but always made sure to have supper together. It was the way I was raised, so I continued the tradition. When my kids got older, and could cook for themselves, we still continued to eat together. We even started doing a "cook of the house" kind of contest. It was fun. Many memories of my own, come from the dinner table as a kid. I hope my children can say the same thing someday. Now, my granddaughter is being taught the same. Isn't life a wonderful circle that always comes around.

    • teaches12345 profile image
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      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Vinaya, glad the hub is useful to your sister. Babies are picky eaters in general but just having them sit with family at meals is good practice.

      Hello iefox, yes only half of our families can do this. They are the ones who will benefit from their efforts. Thanks for your visit. Have a good day.

    • iefox5 profile image

      iefox5 5 years ago

      Most families don't have enough time and energy to prepare a healthy family dinner.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      My sister always struggles to feed her baby boy. This hub of yours will surely help her. I'm going to email link to this hub.

    • teaches12345 profile image
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      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Families with or without children do much better when they have at least one meal together during the day. My hubby and I enjoy our dinner together as it gives us time to chat and share news of our day. Always good to have you visit the hubs, Cclitgirl.

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Sageleaf 5 years ago from Western NC

      If I ever have kiddos, I fully intend on adopting this practice. I also love how you give great suggestions here for incorporating easy meals. My hubby and I sit down and eat together every night - his family did with him and my family did that with me. It's important to us to spend time together and talk about our day, important issues, and more.

    • teaches12345 profile image
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      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      You can't beat having meal together twice a day for family bonding. Mama Kim, keep those strict guidelines because it does make a difference in communication and building social skills. Thanks for your votes and support.

      Nell, I am chuckling at your remarks on eating slowly -- no teenaged boy can chew slowly! I agree that taking time to eat dinner together does begin to unwind a busy day. Your visit and comments are always a plus to a hub.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      Such a great hub, and so very important. Eating together does bring the family together in ways that can't be found in a rush around day, and as you mentioned the actually eating slowly is much better for the digestion too, I always tried to do this with my son, and it worked for a long time until he hit the teens, wonderful, voted up! cheers nell

    • Mama Kim 8 profile image

      Sasha Kim 5 years ago

      Wonderful wonderful hub Teaches!! I'm very strict about eating together at the table - no tv. ^_^ Luckily my husband gets home from work just in time for lunch so we get to eat as a family for both lunch and dinner. Voted a whole bunch! ^_^

    • teaches12345 profile image
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      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      I think we all felt that way as teens, Internpete. Now, as we are looking back we can remember the great times we had sharing. If only we could have seen this then. As you stated, we can make it count by continuing this ritual with our families. Thanks for the reflection on the topic.

    • internpete profile image

      Peter V 5 years ago from At the Beach in Florida

      Growing up, my family almost always ate dinner together at our dinning room table. When I was a teenager I thought this was annoying because I had to stop whatever I was doing and eat with everyone. Now, I recognize how much fun it was spending time together and it gave us all a good opportunity to talk about life or plan things. I will certainly be doing this often with my family one day.

      Great hub and I hope this will encourage more parents to have sit down meals with their families!

    • teaches12345 profile image
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      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Lyricwriter, sounds like your family is close. What a great blessing. Thanks for your contribution to this topic. Enjoy your family.

      Twentyfive, thanks for your positive reflection. God bless you, too!

    • twentyfive profile image

      twentyfive 5 years ago

      Awesome hub. Family and togetherness are always reflected amazingly on your great hubs. :) God bless you always, Teaches

    • thelyricwriter profile image

      Richard Ricky Hale 5 years ago from West Virginia

      Teaches, your wealth of knowledge is deep my dear. Such interesting numbers on that study. I know it is important, but never knew such a swing in the numbers. Glad to know. My wife and I live hectic lives, but we try to do many family things. This is a very beneficial article to me, as well as other parents. Even still, we try to sit down at the table. If we can't, we always do something together. Great work as always Teaches. Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

    • teaches12345 profile image
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      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      You do echo the thoughs of many professionals in child development who know the importance of connecting as a family. The statistics show that the family that dines together (it can be breakfast or lunch) have better balanced kids. Your comment is added valued here, Hyphenbird. Thank you.

    • teaches12345 profile image
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      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Unknown, I don't know your circumstances on this topic, but I do hope that your dreams are fulfilled. If you are ever near my place, stop in and we'll have dinner together! Have a great day, dear friend.

    • teaches12345 profile image
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      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Your sister knows what it takes to keep a family connected. Good for her! Thanks for your add here, Debbie. BE well and strong.

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      You have presented great information in this Hub. Family dinners are becoming more and more rare even as they become more necessary. When we are too busy to be a family, the family falls apart. I think our society needs to slow down and say no to activities. Being together for at least one meal is more important than sports, dance classes and other busy things. Thanks teaches for another wonderful Hub.

    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 5 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      this is one of the best hub! I always dreamed of being together as family, sit down, eat dinner and talk about our day.

    • debbiepinkston profile image

      Debbie Pinkston 5 years ago from Pereira, Colombia and NW Arkansas

      I have always admired my sister, who makes a great home cooked meal every evening for her family, and they sit down to dinner together everyday!

    • teaches12345 profile image
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      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Debbie, great feedback on dinner time. It remains the best time to pause our day to join together as family. Have a great day.

    • teaches12345 profile image
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      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Marcy, thanks for your thoughts on the topic. Always welcome your thoughts on these articles.

    • teaches12345 profile image
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      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Movie Master, I thought 50% was low as well. It's a shame people are losing out on this experience. Thank you for supporting the hub.

    • debbiepinkston profile image

      Debbie Pinkston 5 years ago from Pereira, Colombia and NW Arkansas

      Thank you for reminding us what being a family is all about! When I was raising our children we did have regular dinner time (for the most part) and as you said it gave us the chance to reconnect with each other. Sharing a meal has always been, throughout history, one of the main ways that people connect, and our families should be no different.

      What a great Hub!

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

      I love your idea for sharing family experiences at dinner - having pleasant memories of dinnertime is a good way to instill healthy attitudes about food, and those attitudes can last a lifetime.

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      This is such a lovely hub teaches - family meal time is so important.

      I think it's so sad that only 50% of families eat together .

      The TV should definitely be turned off at mealtimes!

      Excellent advice as always, thank you and voted up.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Becky, Your family is an example of how family dinner should be conducted. This proves the facts in the article are valid and have long lasting effects. Thank you for coming by to support the topic. Blessings!

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 5 years ago from Hereford, AZ

      Wonderful reminder for parents. We eat at the table with the TV off. We have a hand holding family prayer and take turns saying it every night. We enjoy it and get to know each other better every night. My boys are gone now but when they come to visit, the only thing we do different is put more plates on the table.

      They always took turns cooking with me and those times were also special. We could talk without interruptions from the others. They also learned how to cook, which is very important. My sons do most of their cooking and they make food from scratch. We also had the rule that you had to eat some of everything, even if you did not like it. They had to eat everything that they put on their plates also. They knew how hungry they were, they should not take more than they were hungry for. They were allowed to get more if they were hungry. I do not believe in wasting food.

    • teaches12345 profile image
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      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      I am glad that you had a fond memory of family dinner times, Formosangirl. It is true that if you have more than once child, the conversation will be very lively. Glad you have that to hold on to! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Enjoy your week.

    • formosangirl profile image

      formosangirl 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      Hi Teaches12345, we have always dined together, formally or informally, with or without television. My son became so used to my obligatory 6 random questions that he started telling me what went on during his day. Of course, you have one child starting and you have another child chiming in as well. This was one thing I remember growing up. I had always dined with my family. Great hub! Voted Up and Useful.

    • teaches12345 profile image
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      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      I remember my dad being so adamant about having the TV off during meals. As kids, we hated that rule, but now as an adult I can see how much of a distraction it is when you are trying to hold good conversations at meals. It is difficult to follow. Take care, Drbj.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      Wonderful suggestions for family dinners, teaches, especially keeping the TV off - probably one of the most difficult to do. Thanks for your time and effort.

    • teaches12345 profile image
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      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Algarveview, you have started a good thing with your family. Keep it up! Enjoy your day.

      Jainismus, always good to see you. Thanks for your reading the hub and support.

    • jainismus profile image

      Mahaveer Sanglikar 5 years ago from Pune, India

      Great Hub with great tips. Voted up and shared.

    • algarveview profile image

      Joana e Bruno 5 years ago from Algarve, Portugal

      Hello, Teaches, great hub, it's really incredible how the simplest things make the most difference... Here we all eat together everyday, my kids are still small, but I think they sense it's something important, it is our time of sharing: how was school? what did you do? and so on and so forth... Voted up and interesting and sharing! And pinning! Take care!

    • teaches12345 profile image
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      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Hi Ruchira! Keep up those dinner conversations with your child, it will make a difference in knowing how life affects him as he heads into the teen years. Thanks for your votes and sharing. Have a great day, friend.

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 5 years ago from United States

      Such a useful hub, teaches12345.

      I agree with you 'cause the conversations we usually have on the table is amazing and it leads to more discovery of my kid...maybe 'cause I have his undivided attention.

      voted up and sharing it across

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Family meals are a really big part of our lives. My mother cooked a home-made meal almost every night as well. I do miss those wonderful times. Alicia, thanks for stopping by and reminding us of what a family meal means.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I have wonderful memories of family dinner time from when I was a child. The meals were a big part of my life. In fact, I would have been shocked if my family hadn't cooked a nightly dinner! Thank you for the information, teaches. It's interesting to read about how valuable eating as a family really is.

    • teaches12345 profile image
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      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Mhatter, wherever you ate, it has inspired your wonderful humor! Thanks for coming by here. Enjoy your day.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 5 years ago from San Francisco

      Agreed... mostly. Though we always ate together, it wasn't always at the table. I suffer from an imagination. :))

    • teaches12345 profile image
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      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Teachable, social media is so addicting and I have seen this take the place of conversation at meal times. It is something parents have to enforce, no distractions at this time. Your parents were so smart to have family meals together. I am sure you have fond memories of those times. Thank you for your compliment, God has given me the ability to write and I try to use it to help others. Have a great journey this week.

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      TeachableMoments 5 years ago from California

      Teaches, how do you come up with such great topics?! Family dinners are disappearing. Television, phones, games and busy schedules are slowly taking over daily conversations around the dinner table. It is important to connect with every member of the family, and like you stressed, dinners usually only take about eighteen minutes. We can all make time to chat for eighteen minutes. If parents make family dinners important, like mine did, then their children will value this time together, like mine does.

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      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Oh yes, the TV is such a babysitter and centerpiece for families. Turn it off and get to know one another -- it will make a big difference in raising balanced children. Thanks, Vellur, for your support of the topic. You take care out there.

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      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Barbara, at least one meal a day should be when families can gather to bond and share. Great job in working around hi schedule to keep the family together.

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      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      As children grow into those teen years, it is probably just as important to keep the family dinner hour the focal point for reconnecting. It does make a difference. Faith, you are always a great commentator and I appreciate your wisdom here.

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      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Hey Molly! I most confess that on occasion, I do enjoy a quick meal in front of the TV. But, as a norm, the table should be the place where families gather to learn important social skills, such as table manners. Enjoy your day.

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      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      I was also raised eating at the table for family dinner. We had ten around the table all at once, but it made a great difference in our day. This was when we could all reconnect. Thanks, Mary, for your thoughts that added to the hub topic.

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      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Tonipet, I love traditions and they do transcend time to lead families to connect through the ages. Yes, saying grace is like a good cover on a book.

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      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Conservative Lady, I appreciate your kind words and validation of the hub topics. If I can help parents in raising their children, that is a great reward!

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      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Breakfastpop, I am only wise in the things it cost me to something to learn. Hard knocks pays off! See you at the inn.

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      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Agree, Craig. Don't use dinner time to pry information out of your kids. It's a time to bond and share. Thanks for adding that bit of insight here.

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      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Good habits to start, Frog Prince. Parents who encourage children to take just a taste of food, will see them eventually pick up good eating choices. Great add to the hub.

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      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Your mom was so wise to allow you to help with cooking. I wish I would have paid more attention to my mother's cooking. I lost some of her wonderful recipes. Have a good day, Blawger.

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      Nithya Venkat 5 years ago from Dubai

      Excellent pointers, children should be actively involved in family dinners. Nowadays , it has become a trend to sit in front of the TV and eat. Eating at the table with family members will be a happy and a healthy meal!! Great hub.

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      Barbara Badder 5 years ago from USA

      Good hub and good advice. My husband always worked second shift and we didn't get to eat together often. In the summer, I'd make lunch the main meal and then we did.

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      Faith Reaper 5 years ago from southern USA

      Hello teaches - I knew this was going to be a great hub when I read the title! And it is!!! Yes, dinner time at the table with the whole family is so very important, that we really should not take it for granted. I know it gets hard when the children become teens or the parents have their children involved in SO many things, that they barely have time to eat together. As you have stated here, studies have shown the unfortunate results of just a simple thing as having a meal together with your family each day. Very insightful and thought-provoking hub. In His Love, Faith Reaper

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      Mary Strain 5 years ago from The Shire

      Teaches, this is good advice on many levels. There are so many benefits from a structured family meal time. At the very least, it instills table manners; it's surprising how many kids are coming up these days who think you should eat in front of a TV. Useful and interesting, as always!

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      Mary Hyatt 5 years ago from Florida

      When I was a child, we always had family dinner, and I have fond memories of those times together. I hope my children will remember the same. I have always thought it important for families to eat together.

      Great Hub to remind us of this. I voted this Hub UP, and will share.

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      Tonette Fornillos 5 years ago from The City of Generals

      This is what parents need teaches! From keeping dinner simple to showing them good manners on the table are but what our kids need to know. I like your idea of preserving and making new meal time traditions, very fun and worth relishing for. Truly saying grace is the best tradition. Awesome hub, thank you!

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      Sheila 5 years ago from Surprise Arizona - formerly resided in Washington State

      I am hoping many many parents out there read this important Hub Teaches - we need more of your work to reach the masses- Kids could benefit so much if their parents had read your hubs. Great job!

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      breakfastpop 5 years ago

      You are so amazing and so incredibly smart. Up useful and oh so awesome.

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      Craig Hartranft 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      A very important article for parents. Any meal time, especially dinner, can be a time for conversation, learning, and simple sharing. We did this from the time our son could speak. It's not a matter of interrogation to get stuff out of your kid, but simply talking to them with respect about their lives and interests.

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      The Frog Prince 5 years ago from Arlington, TX

      I passed along what my Mother taught me about eating at her table. You try a little of everything whether you think you like it or not. Vegetables were a main stay as were a balanced diet. I passed that along to my son as he grew up. It teaches one how to cultivate a wide taste for food. I sure do appreciate that now.

      The Frog

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      Bahin Ameri 5 years ago from California

      This is great advice for parents! I have such fond memories of dinner time as a child. My mom always encouraged me to help so I learned all the traditional Persian dishes that have been passed down in my family. I learned how to cook and got to spend quality time with my parents.

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      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Carol, it is a habit that should lead into the future well with kids. I like your daughter's idea! Thank you for your visit and added comment. Enjoy today!