When I was growing up, we didn’t have a family dinner all together each night. There wasn’t a traditional dining room table where we all sat down and talked about our day. We still sat together, but there were some times my Dad was at work or my mom, but it still felt like a nightly thing we did. And I really enjoyed it growing up.
When I had my own kids and our own family, I thought a lot about family dinners and if there would be a more traditional importance in our family. I knew that I wanted to make it something that we did, when we could, but things seemed to change when the kids started school.
“One of the simplest and most effective ways for parents to be engaged in their teens’ lives is by having frequent family dinners,” says Joseph Califano Jr., chairman and president of The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University
My husband works a job that isn’t within the 9-5 hours. He usually gets home just after 7 each night, and we would all sit down together and eat as a family. When school started for the kids, I noticed that eating that late and going to bed around 8 or 9 each night was not leaving them with enough sleep to wake up at 7 the next morning.
I had to modify the dinner schedule and so family dinner didn’t include my husband any more. It was that or continue to make school wake-up difficult for the kids, but I know it’s still not the ideal situation.
There are so many benefits of family dinner time, many which are outlined in the article “Family Dinners Are Important” by WebMD with many of them having positive effects far beyond just family bonding time. I think it’s pretty amazing this small nightly (or even a few times a week) thing that is so small can have such a large impact.
I worry though that my husband is missing out — that the kids are missing out on this time with him. Thankfully, on the weekends when my husband is home, they are able to have that family dinner time — with all of us. I know it’s something we love to do as a family and hope as the kids get older we are able to include this in our daily routine. I believe it makes a big difference!
Does your family put a big importance on family dinner each night?
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