7 Reasons To Make Time For Family Dinners

By Peter Thomas
Updated April 13, 2015
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7 Reasons To Make Time For Family DinnersIs finding time to eat together a challenge for your family? You aren't alone. Families across the country try to juggle football practice, music lessons, soccer games, and other responsibilities. Finding time to get the whole family together isn't easy, but here are some reasons why making time for family dinners should be a priority.

1.) Happier, Healthier Kids.

Studies have shown the importance of family dinner for children's happiness. Children who eat dinner with their families are generally less likely to develop eating disorders, face episodes of depression, or even consider suicide. Parents are able to spot potential problems earlier, and address them.

2.) Counteract Bad Influences.

When you make time for family dinner, you greatly reduce the chances of your kids getting involved with drugs or alcohol. A study compared teens who ate with their family 5 times a week, with those who had family dinners less than 3 times a week. Those who didn't eat with their family often were 3.5 times more likely to have done drugs, and 2.5 times more likely to smoke cigarettes. The parental engagement at the dinner tables seems to be the key, according to the researchers.

3.) Reduce Stress.

When you have a demanding career and a lot of stress at work, it may seem too difficult to make time for family dinner. However, a recent study by Brigham Young University researchers, found that having a family dinner actually reduced stress for working moms. Sitting down with the family helped to reduce work tension. There was a similar effect on dad's, but not as pronounced. 

4.) Better Grades.

Did you know that making time for family dinners can improve your children's grades? According to a CASA report, it's true. Teens who eat less than three dinners a week with their family have 20% of their grades C's or lower. For teens who eat with their family frequently, that number is only 9%.  This could be due to the educational benefit of having conversations with adults.

5.) Portion Control. 

Fast food can be incredibly high in both fat and calories. Restaurants seem to serve increasingly larger portions, and many meals they serve have far more food than a person really needs to eat. When we have more food on the plate, we tend to eat more - it's human nature. With childhood obesity continuing to rise, eating at home has the advantage of giving you control over portion size.

6.) Saving Money.

Eating out costs more than eating at home. A study done by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, found that each meal eaten outside the home cost about 78% more than each meal eaten at home. When you do the cooking yourself, it is easier on your budget.

7.) Family Fun.

Having dinner together is a chance for your family to have fun together, building camaraderie between parents and kids, and between siblings as well. You have a chance to find out what everybody's doing and what's going on in their lives. It's also a chance to joke around and laugh together. It's all part of the importance of family dinner.

* Disclaimer:
This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional.