I love the idea of eating at the table as a family every night, but then schedules happen, someone’s commute takes longer than expected, and a hungry child wins out. But there are so many benefits to sitting at the table for a meal together. Make the time for a few adjustments, and you’ll start seeing family dinnertime success.
1. There’s less mess. Really.
Gathering around the dinner table makes serving dinner family-style easy, leaving fewer dishes and less mess for cleanup later. When you grab and go, turning the living room sofa into the dinner table, stains and food bits can get left behind. And when everyone eats the same meal, it’s also less dinner prep, which means fewer dishes in the sink at the end of the night. It doesn’t matter if you’re eating outside at the picnic table or in your formal dinning room, gathering around a table makes dinner cleanup a family affair.
2. It’s a big opportunity for mastering manners.
Sitting down as a family lets you emulate good manners, giving your kids a chance to work on their please and thank yous too. Use the time to think about your own table manners, chewing with your mouth closed, tucking a napkin in your lap, and eating with your elbows off the table. Even without saying anything, children will pick up on your good manners.
3. Everyone shares a daily win.
When you eat together at the table, it’s a chance for sharing info about your day — especially wins. Turn it into a nightly routine, just like having dinner together, and everyone gets a chance to shine for a few minutes. Along with building healthy self-esteem, you’re boosting budding verbal skills, too. Remember to ask lots of questions about what your family members are sharing so you get the whole story.
4. You focus on your food.
Leave your phone on mute, turn off the TV, and focus on spending some delicious quality time together. Eating dinner together lets you concentrate on your family while savoring a good meal. And it’s a tasty opportunity to introduce new flavors and foods to your kids, encouraging healthy eating later in life. Think about adding something new to your child’s plate once a week to entice them to take a little bite of a different dish. Switch up days you introduce new items, and palates will start expanding, causing less drama over what’s for dinner.