As we got older, sure our schedules became a little busier. I was involved in school events, my brothers had football, wrestling and other clubs, but we always had dinner together. We laughed, shared stories and were close to our parents.
Before adopting two children, my husband and I ate out a lot. We mostly ate together at the coffee table, but it was usually take out. Then, our daughters came into the household, and we quickly found out the cost of takeout was expensive, which meant eating out regularly was not the option, so I took a page out of my mother’s book and started making healthier, down home meals.
We started eating together as a family every night, and again, I was back in my childhood remembering how important this family time is. I also learned very quickly how important this routine was to my daughters. During a visit with the foster care review board, our teenager was asked what she enjoyed about our house. We figured we’d hear about the Wii or the Xbox, but instead, she told the group of five board members that she loved dinner time.
Dinner together isn’t just about eating – it’s about talking about our day. We share the good and bad moments from our days, we laugh and we are around each other for an extended period of time.
In looking online, I wanted to find what the benefits of eating together are. In my Google search, I was interested in reading the WebMD study that was at the top of the search. It gave the top 10 reasons eating together is important with our children.
In this study, the top 10 reasons to eat dinner as a family are: Everyone eats healthier meals, kids are less likely to become overweight or obese, kids are more likely to stay away from cigarettes, they’re less likely to drink alcohol, they won’t likely try marijuana, they’re less likely to use illicit drugs, friends won’t likely abuse prescription drugs, school grades will be better, you and your kids will talk more, you’ll be more likely to hear about a serious problem, kids will feel like you’re proud of them, and there will be less stress and tension at home.
While some of these seem like a stretch, I truly agree that stress and tension in the home is reduced, you as parents may hear about a problem sooner rather than later, grades will likely be better and the lines of communication are much more open. I agree with these reasons because I know my grades were good, I was open and honest with my parents and it was definitely important to me to have dinner with my family as a child. And, I can say with some minor hiccups, our children also came around to having better grades, sharing more from their day and helping us as we grew used to our new living arrangements. It helped reduce stress, tension and increase the level of trust we had between each other.
I know in today’s world we are busier and definitely have more going on especially with more than one child, but finding that time to be with each other each day at a set time to share, discuss and eat is definitely beneficial.