The Importance of Eating Together As a Family

The importance of family dinnertime is something that often gets overlooked in our modern, fast-paced environment. In many modern families, family members are all running on a different schedule and don't make time to sit down together for a meal.

It's one of the great tragedies of modern life that all the technology which is supposed to make everything easier has in fact, led to us being busier than ever, with technological devices like TV, iPods and personal computers making it easier for family members to "tune out" from the home environment. This article will delve into why eating together as a family is so important and a few techniques you can use to help encourage more quality family time in your home.

Keeping Up with News

Having dinner as a family is a great way to keep up with everything that's going on in the lives of your children and other family members. This may not be a big issue when your kids are young, but as they reach the teenage years they will start to take up their own interests and make new friends through school.

Often they won't mention those things of their own accord, so a family dinner is a good time to ask what's new in your kids' lives. This is especially true if you as a parent lead a busy lifestyle.

Teaching Children Lessons

In the past, family dinner time was an opportunity for the older members of the family to share life lessons with the younger children. Often teens in particular will try to face the troubles in their lives on their own rather than talk about it with the family, missing out on the valuable knowledge and experience of older family members. Family dinnertime creates a chance for the sharing of that knowledge, making life's difficulties easier for the younger kids.

Keeping Kids on the Good Path

One of the other benefits of having a time when the whole family sits down together is that you can instill some important family values. Often it's a lack of these values that leads teens into problems with alcohol or drugs. This problem can be curbed by having regular mealtimes together where you as a parent remind your kids of the important character qualities that will help them succeed in life.

Family Dinner Meals

Often half the battle of getting the whole family together for a meal is that some family members view it as "boring." In order to avoid this problem, try changing up the routine with some fun meal ideas. Cook a lavish feast and arrange the table in the style of a formal dinner, or have a barbecue in winter time - do whatever it takes to break the family out of the regular routine.
Certain dishes such as casseroles are great for family dinnertime because the meal is cooked in one dish. Just set it in the middle of the table and let each of your family members serve themselves - as long as they stay at the table to eat.

Family Dinner Recipe-Heart Potato Pancakes

1 (14 oz) can chicken broth
1/2 tsp pepper
1 green onion, chopped
1 1/2 Cups instant potato flakes

Pour the broth into a saucepan over medium high heat. Stir in the pepper well. Bring the broth to a brisk boil then remove from the heat. Gently stir in the green onion. Pour the potato flakes into the pan and let them stand until they have absorbed all the broth liquid. Lay a heart shaped cookie cutter in a skillet over medium heat.

Fill the cookie cutter with the potato mixture.  Cook 5 minutes then flip and continue cooking 3 minutes or until browned. 
 Serving Size:  4

Don't forget to print off our family conversation starters game.