November 21st, 2014

The Importance of the Family Dinner

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Groovy Green Livin Family Dinner
This post represents a compensated editorial partnership with The Family Dinner Project. All storytelling and opinions are, of course, my own.

When my kids were small having a family dinner was no big deal. It was easy. There wasn’t any arranging needed. Back then our dinner hour was on the early side- anywhere between 5:30 and 6:30 pm. Most nights we were all home so eating together happened routinely.

Times have changed. My boys are now 14, 12 and 11 and that 5:30-6:30 time slot is filled on most days with multiple activities. Somehow we still manage to make our family dinner time work. It’s inconsistent at best, but we scramble and find the time to sit, eat and catch up. Some nights this happens slightly after 8 pm and other nights we just can’t make it work. But we always make a strong effort to carve out those few minutes to break bread together. And sometimes that’s all we get- those few minutes. But it’s so worth it.

Why Finding the Time for a Family Dinner is So Important

According to The Family Dinner Project:

Over the past 15 years, research has shown what parents have known for a long time: Sharing a fun family meal is good for the spirit, brain and health of all family members. Recent studies link regular family meals with the kinds of behaviors that parents want for their children: higher grade-point averages, resilience and self-esteem. Additionally, family meals are linked to lower rates of substance abuse, teen pregnancy, eating disorders and depression. 

Groovy Green Livin Family DinnerThe things we’ve learned at the family dinner table are priceless. I’m not sure I’d know who danced with who at the school dance or the long list of bad words with incorrect meanings that they learned at summer camp if it wasn’t for that big batch of shared chili. There are times when the giggles still take over, and those three boys feed off of one another throughout the meal. As frustrating as endless giggles can sometimes be, I wouldn’t trade those giggles for the world. I can’t seem to shake that someday those boys won’t be sitting nightly with us during our family dinner.

Not only do we try our best to eat together, but we also belong to a CSA and we cook together. Cooking together is a fantastic way to spend some quality time in the kitchen, creating cherished family conversations.

I’m lucky enough to have found an organization, The Family Dinner Project, that supports and provides resources for family dinners. And they’re in my neck of the woods-Cambridge, Massachusetts!

The Family Dinner Project’s mission is to inspire families to enjoy food, fun, and conversation together.

#familydinnerforward contest!

The Family Dinner Project has a very cool contest lined up and I’m hoping you’ll participate! Between December 2-16, join the kick off of #familydinnerforward, an initiative (and fun contest!) to inspire families to give – within the family to one another and/or to those outside the family.

To participate in the #familydinnerforward contest here’s what you need to do:

  • Snap a dinner/giving-related photo and share it via Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #familydinnerforward.
  • You can share as many photos as you like and all photos tagged on Twitter or Instagram with #familydinnerforward between December 2-16 will be entered to win prizes from Lenox!
  • Two winners will be drawn at random and will receive four 4-piece plate settings of the Lenox Entertain 365 pattern of their choice (estimated value of $344-400 depending on pattern chosen)!

US entrants only. Be creative! But here are some examples of dinner-oriented acts of giving you’re welcome to use:

  • Cook (or buy) a meal for a neighbor or someone in need
  • Invite someone for family dinner.
  • Collect and donate food items to a food pantry
  • Help deliver meals via a community organization
  • Cook a meal together at home, where everyone has a job (this is a gift to the
    person who primarily does the cooking!)
  • Give the gift of meaningful conversation (check out the conversation starters about #GivingTuesday HERE)
  • Talk about giving during family dinner and show us what you decide to give this
    season

I have no doubt that eating together really makes for better-adjusted kids….and better adjusted families. The combination of family meals and the concept of giving- what could be better? Take some time to join in the #familydinnerforward fun and help inspire others to do the same.

How many times each week do you eat together as a family? 

 


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 This post represents a compensated editorial partnership with The Family Dinner Project. All storytelling and opinions are, of course, my own.

photo credit: cafemama via photopin cc

10 Responses to “The Importance of the Family Dinner”

  1. What a cool idea! I’ll try to enter with a photo or two!
    Micaela @MindfulMomma recently posted..Greener, Safer, Better Gifts for GalsMy Profile

  2. I am amazed and inspired by the research that shows how important it is to eat dinner as a family. We never ate dinner as a family when I was younger but my honey and I try to eat together as much as possible. No TV, no phones, just food and conversation!
    Lindsay recently posted..Five social impact holiday gift ideasMy Profile

  3. […] continue reading this post → […]

  4. We were in the same boat as you when my kids were going in different directions. Now it has come full circle and we eat together at least five days a week. What a great project.

  5. We don’t have kids yet, but both my husband and I grew up having family meals pretty much every night and I know that is something that we would like to continue when we have kids. Thanks for a great post!

  6. I agree-we learn so much over the dinner table. We have dinner most nights and have learned to be forgiving about what we put on the table so we can prioritize eating together, even if it’s sandwiches or eggs and fruit!
    Sara recently posted..Eco-friendly Holiday Gifts For KidsMy Profile

  7. Sounds like a great mission for this organization. I had dinner with my family every night as a kid but I see how hard that can be as my kids get older. Making an effort is worth it!

  8. Great Article – with children I feel eating together is very important as it helps educate them in how to integrate into society and culture. As they become teenagers is more about getting them to open up about concerns, issues.

  9. My husband and I eat together almost every night, though it is typically in front of the TV. Almost every week we eat at my parent’s with my brother, cousin and her boyfriend and sometimes other random “family” members.
    Lisa @Retro Housewife Goes Green recently posted..Eco-Friendly Holiday Gift WrapMy Profile

  10. Hi,

    Nice post.What a cool idea.I had dinner with my family every night.

    Keep sharing such awesome post!

    Best,
    Mohd Arif

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About Lori

I’m Lori Popkewitz Alper, a recovering attorney, writer, mom of three boys and the Founder of Groovy Green Livin. Join me as we work together to make the world a safer place for all.

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