Family dinner and eating together might not seem all that important, but there are actually several major benefits to eating together with your children.
Often, dinner is the one time the whole family is free; and it can be a time that allows for conversations and closeness that can’t be achieved during other times. It can help you understand your children, their triumphs or challenges during the day, what friends they made at preschool and what kinds of things are on their minds.
The benefits of family dinner
Starting early is key; having a scheduled dinner time with your baby once they start solids can have a whole range of benefits. This time might evolve as your child grows and your family dynamic/lifestyle changes but the process of everyone sitting down together should stay more or less the same.
Some of these benefits include:
- Language and social skills develop as they hear varying vocabulary from you, your partner and their siblings
- They also learn patience with having to wait for food
- Using utensils will help their fine motor skills and dexterity
- Your baby’s overall mental health improves as they are actively using their brain to try and communicate with the family over dinner
- The bonds between the family and siblings also strengthen during dinnertime
- Time together during dinner gives you the chance to explore different foods which will expand your baby’s palate
Baby see baby do! If your child sees you eating with cutlery, they will want to do the same – and the same goes for the types of foods they’re eating.
Getting your baby interested in a variety of foods can prevent fussy eating habits in the future. Babies and children are more likely to try a new food if they see you eating it first. Often the food you cook is healthier than going out to a restaurant or takeaway, so creating meal plans can ensure a healthier dinner that’s also simple and quick to make.
Remember, family dinner doesn’t have the be every single night of the week if you can’t, just as many as you can manage. Or, if your schedule doesn’t allow for dinners together then you might want to think about family lunches or choosing set nights of the week that are dedicated family nights.
Babies thrive off routine and need structure in their lives to help their growth and development. Having regular family dinners will not only improve your baby’s development but that of the whole family! Don’t forget, it’s not only our little ones who thrive off connection time – you will also reap the benefits of this precious time together too!