April 20, 2018 Nic Rothquel

The importance of the family dinner table

We live in a busy world. As a parent you’re managing work, juggling kids, orchestrating a packed schedule of pick ups and drop offs and working through an endless list of household chores that never seems to get any shorter.

Despite the amount of xbox your child may play, they feel busy too. They have all these pressures that make them feel pressed on all sides; schoolwork, social expectations, questions about their future. It might not always seem like it as you weave around their legs as they sit on the couch while you try to vacuum, but they feel the pressure too.

That is why I love the family dinner table.

In this instant world where we look to get things done as quickly as possible, the family dinner table is quiet in the noise. It is a breath of fresh air in the chaos of the week. It is a time to come together as family, turn the TV off, put our phones aside and enjoy that time together.

It is an opportunity for you to get more than just grunts from your teenagers behind their phones. It gives you a window to find out what your primary schooler learnt at school. It is an opportunity for you to teach them valuable life skills in that 30 minutes that they focus on what you say.

Eating together as a family doesn’t have to happen every night. But it should be a priority in your week. Once, twice, thrice – whatever you as a family can manage. Lock it in and make sure everyone is there.

Here are 5 reasons why the family dinner table should be a priority in our homes:

1. Eating together provides a time that kids can count on spending with their parents.

That consistent family dinner time is something that your children can look forward to because they know they will get your undivided attention.

2. It improves kids’ thinking and linguistic development.

Rather than staring at their phones or watching TV, they are engaging in sustained conversations about interesting topics. It challenges them to think, communicate and respond.

3. More family meals lead to greater relationships.

Not only amongst family members, but outside of this also. It teaches children to slow down and take time to communicate, teaching them valuable life skills that they can apply in their interactions with others.

4. It gives you a window in to your child’s world.

It can be very hard to notice changes in your child if you only spend quality time with them once a month. Having regular meals together will allow you to see if there are any issues or challenges confronting them and give you an opportunity to monitor their development.

5. Family meals are healthier for everyone.

When you are busy it can be so easy to just grab the easiest meal possible – often something that is not good for your body. By setting aside this time, you will be eating a meal that has taken time to prepare and will be much better for you in the long run.

These are just five simple reasons, but I am sure you can think of dozens more. I challenge you to prioritise the family dinner table and make it a key part of your week – your children will thrive and you will get a chance to take a break from the madness of life.