Do you sit down to dinner with your kids? Or are you more likely to have two separate meals - one for the kids and one for the adults? Perhaps you eat dinner as a family, but you're guilty of doing it in front of the TV a bit more than you should. Eating dinner as a family could have a whole host of benefits, assuming you're using the time to talk. If you start doing it when your kids are little, you can carry the good habits into their later childhood and teenage years. Although there could be some resistance from your teenager! Here are some important reasons to eat together.

Learn Good Table Manners
Many parents complain that they are unable to take their children out to eat. If they do go to a restaurant, it needs to be a family friendly one where they can run around or sit at the table with a game or coloring book. But how often do you ask your children to sit patiently at the table at home, concentrating on eating and talking? While a restaurant has more distractions and often more waiting, you can still practice the skills needed to behave in one at home. If you want your kids to have manners when you go out to eat, expect the same of them when eating at home.


Spend Family Time Together
Family time is valuable, and it's not always easy to enjoy a lot of it. With school, work, and other commitments, you can struggle to get everyone together. Dinnertime might be one of the few opportunities you have for valuable time with the whole family. You can start early by finding the best chair for your child when they're a baby or toddler, so kids of all ages can join you at the table. During family time, you have the chance to talk to each other about a range of topics. You can discuss anything from school to your day or what you want to do at the weekend.

Boost Conversation Skills
There's evidence that spending time eating together as a family could have a link to better vocabulary and conversational skills in children. Of course, families that eat together might also have other good habits, like reading regularly and talking in other settings. No matter how old your child is, boosting the conversational skills can help their development and give them vital skills for later life.

Encourage Healthy Eating Habits
Many children go through a fussy eating stage, and it can be frustrating for everyone. But most of the time, it's just a phase that they grow out of. Eating together as a family can often encourage children to try new foods more often and be more relaxed about eating. Having dinner can be a fun family activity, not one where your child feels pressured to eat everything on their plate.

Family dinners help to keep everyone together, and they can help with your child's development too. Try to have them as often as you can, even if it's just at the weekends.