Why Family Meals Are Important

Family meals are fast becoming a thing of the past due to busy family households.

Family meals are fast becoming a thing of the past due to busy family households.
It seems families rarely have the time to sit down together and equally parents are doing unsociable shift work too making it even harder to spend time together eating as a family.
This isn’t anyone’s fault but if you can at least eat together half the week it will greatly benefit your family relationship.
The opportunity to sit together is vital for family life and there are many reasons why you should have meals together with your children as often as you possibly can.
  • Encourages good eating habits - Children who observe family meals from a young age will develop good eating habits and will probably have a better attitude to food. Parents should put every type of food they eat onto their child’s plate and while they may not eat it all, in time it will promote good eating habits. Avoid making a couple of different meals to accommodate your children’s tastes as this will only encourage them to be fussy, instead offer fresh food for all the family to eat. If someone really doesn’t like it time will tell but, in most cases, children are chancing their arm, so they can have chips instead!
  • Teaches table manners and etiquette - Children need to learn how to sit at a table and eat in a mannerly way rather than eating on the couch watching the TV. Eating together will ensure their table manners and etiquette are incredibly good which will do them good in the years to come. It means the family in the future can go out for meals in fancy restaurants and not worry if their child will spread butter across their face or throw bread rolls at other people! Eating together and at the table will be better for your child overall.
  • Time to talk - Families who eat together generally have a better relationship with one another as they spend time chatting at the dinner table.  It is known that this is the time when kids will be most communicative about their day and that is why it is so vital. As family life is busy most children find themselves spending time alone playing while their parents catch up on household chores. This is unavoidable, but dinner time allows you to come together and forces you to engage with one another.
  • Remember a few little rules - If you are going to eat together as a family you should have some rules including the banning of phones at the table or watching TV. If children are too busy watching TV and parents are scrolling through their phones the effort of family meals is counterproductive. Make a rule that there is strictly no other media in use around the table. The only sound should be of you talking and laughing together while eating. It may take time to get used to it but after a while it will be normal, and no one will bat an eyelid at turning off phones and TVs while at the table.
Written by Emma Hayes, Staff Writer, with Family Friendly HQ. 


Emma Hayes

Emma Hayes is a busy mum to two girls aged 17 and 11 and is married to her childhood sweetheart.

Read more by Emma
{{ post.excerpt }}
{{ post.content.formatted }}

What is Family Friendly HQ?

Family Friendly HQ is Ireland’s trusted parenting community, dedicated to mums and dads, and families of all shapes and sizes.

Read more about us