Eating together provides family members the necessary "check-in" time to stay connected with one another. Regular family dinners are much more than gastronomic experiences. The dining table becomes a conference table for light or serious conversations. It becomes a stage where parents can model courtesy and good manners to their children.
Sharing a meal together becomes a training ground for children since this helps them learn to share, help (when they pass on dishes to others), listen, and participate in meaningful conversations. The dining area becomes the place where good memories are formed and collected.
You should start the family tradition of eating meals together as early as possible. As soon as your children are able to take solid food, you should "induct" them to your family’s "diner’s club." Children need to know that dinner is something that your family does together at the dinner table and not in front of the television. You also need to let them know that the food will be served to them anywhere else. They have to go to the dining table if they want to eat.
Want to know how you can encourage your children to take part in family meals? Click through the slideshow below for tips.
For more parenting tips, check out these FN articles:
- Helping Hands: 17 Ways to Get Kids to Help with Household Chores
- New Study: Forcing Your Kids to Finish Their Food Might Make Them Picky Eaters
- Manners Matter: 20 Etiquette Basics to Teach Your Kids
(First published in Good Housekeeping Magazine, Good Family section as "Dine In, Dine Together" in September 2009; photo by sean dreilinger via Flickr Creative Commons; adapted for use in Female Network)