The Importance of Family Dinner

Family Dinner

Life is crazy, hectic, chaotic, stressful, and FUN.  Am I right?  Amidst all these different challenges we need to spend time together as a family.

Growing up, my mom made dinner just about every night.  The only exceptions were date nights and she usually had something prepared for us kids and the babysitter.  We did eat out at restaurants occasionally, but really only for birthdays.  We would order pizza about once a month as well.

I can’t even imagine how she did that, I get tired of cooking dinner 3 nights in a row.  If it weren’t for freezer meals we would probably eat cold cereal for dinner a couple of times a week.  I’m grateful she made the effort, and I am striving to follow in her footsteps.  Why, might you ask?  Because I realize the importance of families getting together at the end of the day to reconnect and share about their day.

My husband’s parents owned a catering business and they were gone many nights.  As my husband and his brother got into their teens they were frequently given $20 and the phone number to the pizza delivery.  He talks about how he wished his family had been together at nights to share the meal and discuss the day’s events.  This is another reason we make family dinner a priority.

I don’t want to give you the wrong idea with that preface.  Our family meals are not heavenly, blissful events (read about our picky eater here), but we are doing our best to make them enjoyable for everyone.  Here’s some reasons you should make family dinners a priority, and ways to make them more enjoyable.



Studies show that families that frequently eat dinner together will have less tension, and teens are less likely to try illegal drugs, or alcohol.  I could stop right there, right?  When families spend time together frequently, the parents are able to pick up on cues from their children, and the children know their parents are listening and care.



Families that make time for dinner together will eat healthier, on average.  Meals that are prepared at home have less trans fats, and children typically eat more fruits and vegetables.  Studies also show that when families eat dinner together at least 3 times a week, the children weigh less than children who do not eat dinner with their families that often.

Self esteem


When children feel connected to their families, they feel secure.  This security leads to higher self-esteem.  Higher self-esteem can result in higher grades, and less inclination to peer pressure or body image issues.


You may ask how it is possible to have family dinners that frequently.  Here’s a couple of tips to make it easier.

  • Freezer meals: Make them ahead and stick them in the oven when you get home, or put them in the crock pot before you leave in the morning (depending on the recipe).
  • Crock pot meals: Put all the ingredients in the crock pot in the morning, and it’s ready to eat when you get home.
  • Fast family favorites: tacos, soup, grilled cheese sandwiches
  • Brenner: This is breakfast for dinner: waffles, pancakes, omelets
  • Take out: There’s nothing wrong with ordering pizza from your favorite restaurant

Make dinner time a fun time together with a couple of these tips:

  • Use the fancy place settings (and practice etiquette on these nights)
  • Have the kids help set the table, and make the meal
  • Have theme nights (Monday is Mexican, Tuesday is try something new, Wednesday is whatever’s leftover, etc.)
  • Avoid serious discussions until after dinner is over
  • Everyone gets a turn sharing about their day

What have you found helps bring your family together?  Why are family dinners important to you?

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Research from WebMD, Food Network Blog,


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About Anne Banks

Hi, I'm Anne! I am an active learner on this crazy road called life. I love learning about anything, but currently spend most of my study time researching parenting tips and improving health. I get excited about crafting, reading, running, baking, and spending time with my three crazy boys (in no particular order, and sometimes at the same time)! I love sharing what helps me get through the day, and I hope my tips help you!

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14 Responses to The Importance of Family Dinner

  1. Suzy April 25, 2014 at 4:21 pm #

    Anne, you’re singing my song. Meals together are so important for all the reasons you’ve mentioned. And isn’t a beautifully set table a temptation in itself? We all eat better, talk more, and bond over a meal at the table. I’m glad I visited from My Romantic Home….Mimi…xxx

    • Anne Banks April 25, 2014 at 8:34 pm #


      I love setting the table with our best finery. My six-year-old also appreciates it when I set the table. He loves practicing his manners and working on table etiquette. We really enjoy spending the evenings together and hearing about everyone’s day. Thanks for visiting!

  2. rachaeljdebruin April 26, 2014 at 9:47 pm #

    It’s sooo true! We just need to set the time aside to do it 😉 Thanks for sharing!
    Rachael @ Diamonds in the Rough (

    • Rachael April 27, 2014 at 11:43 pm #

      Thank you for stopping by, it always helps to get reminders of the things we should be doing. Right?

  3. Sarah April 29, 2014 at 9:39 pm #

    Love these thoughts and 100% agree. It was always just how things were for my family growing up, and thankfully my husband was raised the same way, so it was never a question that it would be time that we fight for as we raise our family. Life is busy, but this is so worth it. Following along on bloglovin now!

  4. Sarah May 12, 2014 at 2:08 pm #

    So true! Those nights that we seem lazy and don’t all eat together I can see the difference. Thanks for linking up at Tips and Tricks. Pinning!

  5. Elizabeth May 19, 2014 at 10:43 pm #

    Family dinners are crucial. It helps prevent eating disorders, drug use, and helps with reading scores. I am so happy to find this post. I really work hard to have family meals with my little ones just because of the outstanding benefits. Thanks for sharing with us all.

    • Anne Banks May 20, 2014 at 8:37 pm #

      Elizabeth, yes, I didn’t mention the eating disorder prevention, or at least early detection that comes from having regular family dinners. It can be really hard with little ones to keep up with it, but it pays off in the end!

  6. trina May 25, 2014 at 2:07 pm #

    Thank you for sharing this story! I grew up in a house that always ate dinner together. And now that I have kids we eat dinner together every night too.

    Head on over on Tuesday…I am going to feature you for this weeks Twirl and Take a Bow! Have a great week!

    • Rachael May 26, 2014 at 11:09 am #

      Thanks for stopping by. So glad you did. We ate together too, and let me tell you, lots of memories.


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