Have you ever stopped to think about how often your family all sits down together for dinner, without a TV or phone or other distractions? If this sounds like a great idea and you want to make it happen, we’re glad you’re on board! Here’s all the information you need to convince the rest of your family that family dinner nights need to become a regular thing in your house.
Healthier Eating Habits
Making sure your young children are meeting their health and nutritional goals is important for their overall vitality now, and it’s crucial for helping them build a foundation they can thrive on as they get older. Even better, it’s never too late for a nutritional tune-up!
Meals prepared at home tend to have more nutrients and fewer preservatives than meals from restaurants, and they don’t have to be home made from scratch to see significant benefits. Make sure all major food groups are represented, add some more vegetables, and you’re at least halfway to a well-balanced meal!
Better Table Manners
Table manners might be important to you. Maybe you know what all the forks and spoons are for in a fine dining situation. Or maybe you’re satisfied if the kids can remember to chew with their mouths closed!
Whatever the level of formality at the family dinner table, eating regular meals together is the perfect opportunity to set expectations for around the table and gently guide your children as they practice enjoying shared meals with others.
Bonding as a family and forming strong, secure emotional attachments and trust with each other is one of the best predictors of a long-lasting marriage or partnership, lower daily stress overall, and confident, content, capable children who can withstand life’s ups and downs. Not to put too much importance on it or anything!
Confidence and Self-Esteem
Kids who are sure of themselves and believe in their own inherent worth as people tend to have more success as adults than those who are more hesitant and indecisive. Simply spending time with your kids, talking to them, and expressing interest in their lives can go a long way towards showing them they’re worth paying attention to and have interesting things to say.
Eating meals together as a family is the perfect time to do this, whether it’s at the dinner table during the week or a lunchtime picnic in the park on the weekend. If your child dislikes being the center of attention, make some time for one-on-one conversations around the table. As their confidence grows in smaller interactions, they’ll start to get more comfortable and come out of their shell!
Improve Communication Skills
This might be a controversial take but we’re in favor of a no-device rule while eating dinner as a family. Of course there are nights when we watch our favorite shows during dinner, but setting aside time to spend together and talk to each other has important benefits.
One of the most effective ways for children to develop better communication skills—and one of the most effective ways for children to develop any skills, now that we think about it—is by practicing those skills. Taking time to speak with each person around the table and giving each person a chance to be “the star of the show” will help kids build a better intuitive understanding of what makes a good conversation and how to keep a good conversation going.
Improve Social Skills
Similar to communication skills, social skills are also best learned with practice. With the introduction of table manners, as mentioned above, you’ll be helping children get to understand how different settings and events can have expectations of different behavior.
Having rules for “at the table” that are more strict—things like no phones at the table, no interrupting, no reaching across the table, asking permission to leave—can also be a way for kids to practice being on “better” or “best” behavior at expected times. Learning to be on best behavior at the family dinner table means they’ll know exactly what’s expected when they need to be on best behavior at a restaurant or other public setting.
Spend More Time with Your Tweens
The tween years are an introduction to yet another new phase in your kid’s life, and part of that phase is wanting to be much more independent and spend a lot more time with friends. If you’ve already established a tradition of having family dinner night a few times a week, it’s less difficult than trying to convince them why they should want to start now.
Haven’t started a family dinner night tradition yet? It’s never too late, but we recommend starting sooner than later. If you’re new to the idea, all you need to do is find one night per week when the whole family can eat dinner together. Then, on the night, the whole family eats dinner together. Easy, right? (There’s no trick here, it really is easy: just make the dinner and they’ll show up at the table for it eventually.)
Family Pizza Night
If none of the other reasons on this list have won you over yet, allow us to draw your attention to the fact that pizza is the perfect food and the perfect meal to eat together as a family. Pizza is an appetizer, a main course, even a dessert (if you make it right)!
It’s the theme and a conversation topic—and as a bonus, it also makes the best lure to entice reluctant family members around the table. Is there anything pizza can’t do? Yes, obviously. It’s only pizza. But if you’re trying to solve a problem pizza can solve, the best way to solve that problem is with pizza!
Dogtown Pizza has been bringing families together around the table since we started, and that’s easily one of the best parts about the work we do! Next time you’re looking for a quick and convenient family dinner option, just look for our pizzas in the freezer aisle of grocery stores in St. Louis. Enjoy!16