This past summer during my time at Family Forward I realized how important family dinners are especially when your kids get older.
Family Forward is a conference dedicated to reconnecting families, strengthening bonds and helping to create Wow Moments.
I have always been a huge advocate for prioritizing family dinner time, and it was so much easier when my kids were little and I had a lot more control over their schedules.
However, over the last year, it had become less and less important for all of us to sit around the table together to eat and share our lives with one another.
My kids are getting older, our schedules are super busy and often conflict with one another, and then there is the fact that my 20-year-old daughter has moved into her own place.
All of these things have made family dinners a challenge for me and to be perfectly honest I have gotten lazy about modeling the importance to my family.
Everyone knows that moms have a lot to do with creating or destroying a tradition, and I had been destroying it. I didn’t realize that it was more important than ever to keep it going as my kids were growing into young adults.
A family doesn’t end when the kids move it and family dinner doesn’t have to either!
I learned some really powerful statistics that prove how important family dinners really are!
- 76% of families say dinner is the most important way to connect.
- 72% of kids feel closer to their parents when they have dinner together.
- 70% of kids appreciate their parents more when they take the time to share a meal together.
- 62% of kids picked family dinners over any other activity as the best way to help them feel safe
How to Create Meaningful Family Meals
1. Make really good food.
We love to have a theme dinner night at our house. If you need recipe ideas, you can find a ton of family-friendly meals to get started.
2. Listen and Talk More.
If you’re not sure where to start, try these conversation starters if you need them as well as some fun dinner games to keep conversations flowing.
3. Eat together more often.
It is so important to make time for dinner with each other. Pick a special day or time and stick with it. Sow that you are committed to one another not just dinner.
4. Get everyone involved.
Your kids can participate in every part of the family dinner time. From planning the menu, helping you shop, setting up, cooking and clean up. Family Dinners are a family affair!
5. Eliminate Distractions.
Make it a point to keep all electronics away during this time. Remember this is the time to reconnect with each other, but that means disconnecting from everything else.
For the last several weeks since returning home, we have all come together at least once a week for a family dinner. This might not seem like a lot, but for a family that doesn’t all live under the same roof it really takes commitment from every member to make it happen.
Sunday Family Dinners have become a really special time at our house.
We all pitch in to create the meal and then spend time just being together and giving everyone a chance to reconnect. This past Sunday we pulled out old family photos after dinner and took a walk down memory lane together.
It is my hope that these Sunday Family Dinners will continue to be a long-standing tradition long after both of my kids have their own families.
It’s not perfect and it is only once a week, but it is working and the reconnect between us all is really happening!
You can find SO many great ideas for starting your own family dinner nights here.