The 3 Secret Benefits of Family Dinners

During my childhood, family supper was at 5 pm on the dot and we were expected to be

there unless we had a job or were sick. As a kid I didn’t realize there was a reason why Mom and Dad insisted on us sitting down as a family, we just showed up because that’s when Mom had dinner on the table and it was how our family worked.

If you’re thinking, "Well, times have changed" or “We’re just too busy” you’re not alone! Most parents I work with say the same things! As the mom of 3 busy kids, I get it! Eventually I discovered my parents had a reason for family dinners and it was brilliant. When you see what your kids get out of even a few family meals each week, you may choose to make it more of a set routine in your home too. (Don't worry, I included ways to make it super easy, keep reading!) So what are these 3 important things your kids will gain? 1. A Sense of Community When your family sits together for dinner it gives your child a sense of belonging. As you pass around the food and share stories of your day, it strengthens relationships and allows you a window into each other's lives. Kids from families who eat dinner together gain a sense of connection and feel like they matter.

Growing up as one of 7 people at our very small kitchen table, I was surrounded by noisy conversation, teasing, requests to “pass the potatoes” and utter chaos, but it was my "herd" and we knew each of us was an important part of that herd! Stories were told, arguments were had, plans were made and life was crazy...but it was how the Rizzardo family truly connected. 2. A Chance to Practice Communication Skills Getting your kids to the dinner table will give you a chance to hear what your kids are thinking and feeling. An added benefit? You can ask questions through casual conversation and they probably won't feel like you’re interrogating them. This is also a great time for your kids to practice their communication skills. They’ll share stories, ask questions, tell you about their day...this is all great practice for interacting and connecting with others outside the family. You can take this opportunity to model listening skills, teach them about taking turns and not interrupting, and how to ask questions to keep a conversation going. Talk about life skills that are important! All that learning while enjoying a good meal, what could be better?!

3. A Feeling of Security When your family has routines or traditions, it gives your child a sense of security. They know what to expect which can lead to less in