Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Eating Dinner Together

Eating Dinner Together

Sharing dinner as a family can be difficult; you’re working late, the kids have soccer practice, music lessons, and dance class, and no one can agree on what foods they like! But, eating together as a family is very important. It’s a great way to connect and research shows that the more often children eat dinner with the whole family, the less likely they are to engage in risky behavior.

Here are some easy ideas for making family dinner a tradition in your house:

Pick a Day and Stick To It. On Sunday, look at everyone’s schedule and decide which day will be most convenient for the whole family. Then, stick to that schedule – no excuses! Soon, you’ll have created a tradition that your whole family looks forward to.

Encourage Your Kids to Pick the Menu and Help Prepare. Have a few picky eaters in the house? Let your kids help plan the menu, and then take some weight off the cook by letting the kids help with the preparation. When everyone has a say, you’ll have fewer complaints, and the whole family will enjoy the evening more.

Turn Off the TV. Family dinner is a time to really connect – not tune out! Ask your children what they learned in school today, and tell them about your work day. This is also a great time to talk with your kids about what’s going on in your family and your neighborhood.

Keep Conversation Positive. Use this opportunity to encourage your children and bring closure to their busy days. Also, make sure everyone gets a chance to speak and share. You’ll be amazed at how 30 or 45 minutes spent sharing a meal together can positively impact you and your children.

So this fall, make time for family dinner at least once a week. It's a great way to connect and make memories that will last.

This story was adapted from The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse’s celebration of Family Day. Family Day is celebrated the fourth Monday of every September. For more information, visit