Family Dinner Ideas

importance of the family dinner hour
Family Dinner Ideas includes:
  • Benefits of meal time
  • Tips for meal time
  • Dinner discussion topics game

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Family Dinner Ideas

Family meal time is something that often gets forgotten in the hustle and bustle of daily life. Grabbing something to eat while we dash around may be convenient once in a while but once you have gotten into the habit of eating out or snagging a quick bite, you lose one of the most valuable benefits that parents have when raising their children; family meal time.

Setting aside a time for at least one meal a day with your family can help your children to establish a routine and give you time to get to know your children better. You should turn off the television, turn off the computer and turn off any video games during family meal time and let this time be used to feed not only your bodies but learn about one another and feed the bond between you and your children. Open communication this way is very important for children.

As they get older your children might not appear to want to sit at the table and participate in family meal time. If you have instilled this since early childhood your teens are going to be more receptive to the idea. If you are starting after your children are teens you might see a little struggle at first.

Benefits of Family Meal Time

It's one of the great tragedies of modern life that all the technology which is supposed to make everything easier has in fact, led to us being busier than ever, with technological devices like TV, iPods and personal computers making it easier for family members to "tune out" from the home environment. This article will delve into why eating together as a family is so important and a few techniques you can use to help encourage more quality family time in your home

Keeping Up with News

Having dinner as a family is a great way to keep up with everything that's going on in the lives of your children and other family members. This may not be a big issue when your kids are young, but as they reach the teenage years they will start to take up their own interests and make new friends through school.

Often they won't mention those things of their own accord, so a family dinner is a good time to ask what's new in your kids' lives. This is especially true if you as a parent lead a busy lifestyle.

Teaching Children Lessons

In the past, family dinner time was an opportunity for the older members of the family to share life lessons with the younger children. Often teens in particular will try to face the troubles in their lives on their own rather than talk about it with the family, missing out on the valuable knowledge and experience of older family members. Family dinnertime creates a chance for the sharing of that knowledge, making life's difficulties easier for the younger kids.

Keeping Kids on the Good Path

One of the other benefits of having a time when the whole family sits down together is that you can instill some important family values. Often it's a lack of these values that leads teens into problems with alcohol or drugs. This problem can be curbed by having regular mealtimes together where you as a parent remind your kids of the important character qualities that will help them succeed in life. Children who have routine meal time are less likely to deal with depression as well!

Be a Role Model

Meal time is a great time for you to be a role model. Healthy dietary habits are learned by watching others and their eating habits. If you eat healthy foods and give these as healthy choices to your children they are going to choose healthy foods as well.

Family Dinner Meals

Often half the battle of getting the whole family together for a meal is that some family members view it as "boring." In order to avoid this problem, try changing up the routine with some fun meal ideas. Cook a lavish feast and arrange the table in the style of a formal dinner, or have a barbecue in winter time - do whatever it takes to break the family out of the regular routine.
Certain dishes such as casseroles are great for family dinnertime because the meal is cooked in one dish. Just set it in the middle of the table and let each of your family members serve themselves - as long as they stay at the table to eat.

Family Dinner Ideas

These meal ideas can help you to spend quality time with your family and teach your children about nutrition.
  1. Learning to listen to your body and stop eating when you have reached the satisfied point is also important. Making a child finish everything they are served, or everything they serve themselves, can teach them to overeat. This can lead to more health problems later in life. It is best to teach children to stop eating once their hunger is satisfied.

  2. Family meal time is also a great time to introduce new foods to the whole family. Trying new foods opens up opportunities to get nutrition from new sources. 

  3. You can designate one night a month to a specific culture and you can try ethnic foods that way. 

  4. Don't forget children can help you get meals planned and prepared. This will help them to learn more about cooking and nutrition. It might take a little more work to have younger children help you out in the kitchen but the bond you are cementing as you do so this is worth it.

Dinner Ideas Topic Starters

We've created the questions to get your family dinner conversation rolling. Print off the pdf game, cut out and take turns answering and discussing. Enjoy!

Family Dinner Topic Game
dinner topic conversation game

improve your meal time ideas

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