My wife and I have been surprised to learn, over the course of the last couple of weeks, that most of our friends do not eat dinner with their children. They feed them, put them to bed, then sit down together to enjoy a quiet dinner.

While we can see the marital relationship building this technique may encourage it's never even dawned on us to not have dinner with our three year old. Both of our families ate dinner together growing up.

What are your thoughts?

EDIT on 2-23-11
Thanks for all responses. From a recommendation in a linked article I ended up purchasing:
The Family Dinner: Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids, One Meal at a Time
My wife was reading it today and texted me this word for word, "This book describes how I've always wanted to have dinner, but haven't been able to implement. Excited for you to read so we can do this together!"

asked 19 Feb '11, 20:54

GollyJer's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

edited 23 Feb '11, 18:45


Great post, thanks for sharing. It really helped me resolve my problem Really appreciated.

(23 Feb '11, 06:14) jimycamron

I can't say anything about the scientific reasons for this having developmental benefits, but I personally think that it is very important. It just makes you feel much more like a family, especially in current times, where (oftentimes) both parents are working so that dinner time is the only time that you can actually enjoy a meal together. When I was a child, I would always eat lunch with my mother (coming home from school at around 13:30) and dinner with both my parents. On the weekend, we would take all meals together.

I would say: Don't go with what most people do. Do it your way, especially if you found (scientific) research indicating that your way is the right way. BTW., could you give a few pointers to what you found? Just because many people are doing something, doesn't mean that it is the right thing to do.


answered 20 Feb '11, 05:34

Alexander's gravatar image

accept rate: 10%


Hey Alex. Thanks for the answer. I edited the question to make the link to my reference more visible.

(20 Feb '11, 13:35) GollyJer

I support totally what you say in the final paragraph. The right way can always vary for each person.

(21 Feb '11, 07:07) Emi

I've been searching for some of the articles I read in recent years on this, but in the US there is a campaign to get more families to eat together because it reduces the risk of childhood obesity (since a sit down dinner is generally made up of healthier options) and it helps teens be better emotionally adjusted (it is supposed to encourage kids to share about their lives with their parents). I'm trying to find some of the places that I've read this stuff, and I'll give links as soon as I can find them.


answered 20 Feb '11, 10:06

mkcoehoorn's gravatar image

accept rate: 8%

edited 21 Feb '11, 09:44

Our son is 6 months now. Ever since he was 3 or 4 months, we place him on the table using something like this Now he sits in a high chair at the table when we eat. Most of the time that is, 'cause sometimes he's to tired, or doesn't want to sit in the chair.

And I think it is important as well. He sees we're eating, and what we're eating and how we're eating (and drinking). And I believe this will have a good influence on his eating-habits and he'll learn faster and be more open to learning to eat and trying new things with food etc.

And also create a good and healthy relation with your child.


answered 21 Feb '11, 03:21

Fisherman's gravatar image

accept rate: 8%

edited 21 Feb '11, 04:16


Totally agree with what you are doing.

(21 Feb '11, 07:07) Emi

Here are my own personal views and experiences that have led me to believe that dining together as a family

" is a really good thing" and why I believe it has contributed positively to her whole outlook on food and eating in general.

When our daughter was small we never gave this topic much thought.

As Fishmerman explains, she would be seated near us while we were at the table, eating, and we would make eye contact regularly. Once we made the transition to solids she would again be close to the table and she could alway see us eating, enjoying food.

I cannot prove that this is the reason why she has always had a good appetite and eats whatever we eat, but for us it seems like this was the right thing to have done. Now at the age of 6 and a half she is still the same, and enjoys her food. At school while other children pick at the salad, our daughter goes up and asks for dressing of lemon juice and olive oil and eats salad with enthusiasm...and she is not a picky eater at all. She will try everything, and is open minded.

Another phase that we were particularly fascinated was during the nursery period. Between 24 and 48 months..she would insist on feeding herself while at nursery and the teachers would tell us that she would set a good example to her friends but always feeding herself in a very matter of fact manner.

I have only covered the eating aspect but I am sure that there could be more benefits with regard to relationship building as well.


answered 21 Feb '11, 07:05

Emi's gravatar image

accept rate: 19%

edited 24 Feb '11, 09:13

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Asked: 19 Feb '11, 20:54

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Last updated: 24 Feb '11, 09:13