Sunday, October 7, 2012

Family Dinners......So Important

Family birthday meals.......just about one a month in this large household : )

It's amazing how in the last year or so I hear about another secular study done showing the importance of family dinners.  We know that having regular family dinners is really just a sign of an intact, caring family.  But it's interesting to note what the "world" is saying about it.  

Here's a clip from a CNN article:

Healthy meals mean healthy kids
Studies have shown that kids who eat with their families frequently are less likely to get depressed, consider suicide, and develop an eating disorder. They are also more likely to delay sex and to report that their parents are proud of them. When a child is feeling down or depressed, family dinner can act as an intervention.
This is especially true of eating disorders, says Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, Ph.D., a professor at the University of Minnesota's School of Public Health, who has studied the impact of family meal patterns on adolescents. "If a child eats with his or her parents on a regular basis, problems will be identified earlier on," she says.
Family dinners help kids "just say no"
Eating family dinners at least five times a week drastically lowers a teen's chance of smoking, drinking, and using drugs. Teens who have fewer than three family dinners a week are 3.5 times more likely to have abused prescription drugs and to have used illegal drugs other than marijuana, three times more likely to have used marijuana, more than 2.5 times more likely to have smoked cigarettes, and 1.5 times more likely to have tried alcohol, according to the CASA report.
"While substance abuse can strike any family, regardless of ethnicity, affluence, age, or gender, the parental engagement fostered at the dinner table can be a simple, effective tool to help prevent [it]," says Elizabeth Planet, one of the report's researchers, and the center's vice president and director of special projects.
Better food, better report card
Of teens who eat with their family fewer than three times a week, 20% get C's or lower on their report cards, according to the CASA report. Only 9% of teens who eat frequently with their families do this poorly in school.
Family meals give children an opportunity to have conversations with adults, as well as to pick up on how adults are using words with each other, which may explain why family dinnertime is also thought to build a child's vocabulary.

So, how do you get this done with 
many children, a working husband, 
extracurriculars, etc.
Years ago we set a time for dinner 
and have stuck to it.  I based this 
on when my husband arrived home
from work.  All my children know, 
dinner begins somewhere between
6:15pm and 6:30pm, depending on
when my husband gets home and
when the food is ready.  There are 
nights that maybe one child is still
at a sports practice or music 
practice, but we go ahead and 
start eating.  They usually arrive
sometime during the meal and if 
not, then I save them a plate.  I'm
OK if this happens a time or even
2 nights a week as the children get
to be teenagers.  We miss them
at the dinner table, but it's kind of a
weaning away before they leave for
college.  Dinner is loud at our 
house and at least once a week 
there is someone extra at the 
dinner table, but we engage in 
"stimulating" conversations and 
talk about our day.  This year my 
husband is doing a great family
devotional called, "Training Hearts
and Teaching Minds" by Starr 
Meade.   He doesn't take
long with this (attention spans are 
short this time of day) but it's a 
great way to bring the Lord into our
dinner time.  We cherish this time
as a family and guard it (meaning 
we try not to plan things during the
dinner hour.)  Also, I know 
sometimes it might seem easier to
feed the children before Dad gets 
home and then have a quiet meal 
with just him or even feed the 
babies in advance, but we have 
rarely done this.  I things it's better
as a regular thing to have all the 
family eat together.  They grow
so fast and need to learn table 
manners early.  So, I encourage
y'all to make a healthy meal (it 
doesn't have to be elaborate), set
the table nicely, light a candle, and
enjoy your precious family. 


  1. So very true. The family eating dinner together should become like the air we breathe--you don't even have to think about it. Of course you do have to fight for it as other activities begin to take your older children's time. But it is worth fighting for.

  2. Family meal time is so important to me too, even if it is just take out! And we are working though the same family devotion book! :)

  3. Hello Becca,

    Eating dinner together, is also very important to us.
    Being together as a family, talking and listening what the kids did at school, how daddy's day went. Solving problem, telling jokes.

    My husband wasn't used to talk whit his family at dinnertime, and they never sat longer than 20 min.
    My family was the opposite, I still hear my mother saying; you forget to eat, eat half your plate than you can talk again. Is was never quiet with us.

    We always eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at the table. Even at weekends when my husband is home, we get up early to have breakfast together. We never let the children eat on their own in front of the tv.

    Our time together.


Thanks so much for your comments! I love them and they keep me writing. I really do read each one.