Q&A: Dining Together as a Family


Studies have shown that the more frequently kids eat with their families, the less likely they are to smoke, drink, or use drugs and they are more likely to do well in school. Sharing a meal helps kids feel connected to their parents and families and creates a part of the day during which kids can decompress and build connections.

How often is your family able to share a meal (any meal) together? What are some of the challenges your family faces finding the time to dine together?

  • Meagheanne Donahue writes: “My son & I eat breakfast and dinner together during the school week, every meal together on the weekends, and Sunday is our family brunch with his grandparents, aunt, uncles & cousins. Granted, he’s only 8 and it’s just the two of us, but we make a big deal out of family dinner and that will be the rule when he’s older.”
  • Jennifer R Payson-Taylor writes: “My husband & I and our 4 children ages 5, 7, 12, & 14 eat dinner every night together!!! Exceptions are if either of the older two are at a friends or it’s a date night for me & hubby! It’s how our parents did it too!”
  • Angelique Phoenix writes: “Every day; it is non-negotiable.”
  • Julie Gouldman Russell writes: “Usually nightly. busy schedules are a challenge – sometimes we eat later than I would like, but worth the trade-off of eating together.”
  • Diane Kanzler writes: “I’m with Angelique. This may change slightly as the child ages, but even then, it will be the rare exception that meals are not eaten together rather than the rule.”
  • Marissa Tenenbaum Potter writes: “We eat dinner together every night, no matter how loud messy or crazy it gets.”
  • Jennifer Shiao Page writes: “I have a traditional 9 – 5 schedule, and my husband does not. He’s a musician and music teacher, so he’s often performing or teaching in the evenings. But, I’d say around three times a week we all eat dinner together. And we make sure to sit facing each other with the TV off!”
  • Sienna Wildfield writes: “We share dinner together every night… it’s scheduled in as part of our daily routine.  Meals are prepared fresh (most of the time) or we dine out at one of our favorite locally owned restaurants. Our challenge is preparing meals that accommodate dietary restrictions and preferences.  But somehow we manage… just have a lot of dishes to clean up at the end of the meal. – We also shop locally together.  Knowing where our food comes from and interacting with local farmers at the markets make for great conversation starters at dinner time.”
  • Jess Kuttner writes: “I grew up in a family that had breakfast and dinner together every day so that is what I strive for.  Breakfast is usually easy – but sometimes the late evenings at work get in the way of family dinner.  I know how important it is and I agree with Sienna on trying to do as many homemade and locally sourced meals as possible.”

[Photo credit: (ccl) Kate Hiscock]

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