Guarding Family Mealtimes

Research reminds us it's critical for parents to connect with their children at the table

"What's for dinner?" says Mike to his mother as he rushes through the door, late from soccer practice. "No time," says Mom. "I've got to get Janie to her piano lessons—just grab something. We'll get a bite to eat on the way, and Dad's eating at the office since he'll be home late."

If this scenario sounds familiar, I'm not reading your mail. I just know how busy you are—how busy we all are.

New school year. Fall sports season. Parents who work outside the home. Put them together and you have a dizzyingly hectic lifestyle, a lifestyle that often causes family mealtime to fall by the wayside. Sitting down for a family meal provides more than just good nutrition, though. It's a feeding of the soul, a time to share life as a family where simple moments are transformed into something beautiful and lasting.

In times past, children could be seen at the dinner table but were not to be heard. Thankfully, that has changed, as we now know the value of providing a safe and enjoyable mealtime environment for the entire family.


Family mealtime is critical to your children's physical, emotional, and spiritual development, as well as their academic and behavioral progression.

Family mealtime is the primary avenue for parents to connect with their children. It's a time for parents to serve as role models, to encourage healthy eating habits, and to establish family traditions. Children benefit from the socialization, the establishment of family unity, and the increased literacy and language development that occur during mealtimes.

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