Untitled design (3).pngEveryone has their own approach to family mealtime. I remember as a kid finding mealtime at my friend’s houses to be an experience in itself! Some of my friends had family prayer before eating, others did not. Some always ate salad before the main meal could be served. Some had peaceful family dinners with quiet conversation, some families had arguments (all the time!), while other friend’s mealtimes were filled with laughter. Some of my friends would pitch-in and help cook the meals while other times us kids had to be hunted down from somewhere in the neighborhood to get home to eat. Even as a kid I remember finding family mealtime traditions interesting! Now, I may be dating myself a bit here, but one common link between all of my personal experiences was that everyone sat down at the kitchen table and ate together! I know, I know, that’s so old school. That was obviously before televisions, back when the pet dinosaur was the only source of entertainment! Actually, it wasn’t that long ago, we all had televisions, and for the record we owned cats, dogs, bunnies, and the like!

Sitting down as a family for meals is not about food… if you think back about your memories at mealtime it is rarely about the food and most often about what happened at the table. Every day people eat multiple meals. It is the perfect opportunity to be a family, to bond, to grow, and to strengthen your relationships. It is saddening to me children today seem to miss this opportunity more times than not. Meals happen individually. Meals happen in front of the television. Meals happen in the car. Kids are missing this vital (and seemingly subtle) family time. Researchers have taken a lot of time to study the importance of family meals and all have reached conclusive results: FAMILY MEALS ARE CRITICAL TO HEALTHY CHILD DEVELOPMENT AND HEALTHY FAMILY STRUCTURES! While family vacations are wonderful, children are raised in the daily interactions and families grow from daily watering!

Here’s something to chew on!

Did You Know kids who eat at the table with family are:

  • 35% less likely to engage in disordered eating (Cook and Dunifon, 2012)
  • 24% more likely to eat healthier foods (Cook and Dunifon, 2012)
  • 12% less likely to be overweight (Cook and Dunifon, 2012)

Research from Purdue University shows many benefits: 

  • Increased vocabulary
  • Better grades in school
  • Significantly LESS LIKELY to smoke, drink, or do drugs
  • Develop better social skills

I want to encourage each of you to try to implement family meals at least seven times per week(breakfast, lunch, dinner…whichever meal is best for your family schedule). Below are some great options for family meal time. For other ideas, this is an awesome website:




  • Turn off ALL electronic devices (cell phones, tablets, televisions, computers, video games, etc.)!
  • Sit at a table, ditch the couch!
  • Use conversation cards! (www.tabletopics.com)
  • Let the kids help in the kitchen with the meal!
  • Pray together for more than the food, share prayer requests!
  • Talk about the day and what went on. LISTEN…do not react or interrupt. LISTEN LISTEN LISTEN!!

Stewart’s Gift Counseling


Cook, E., & Dunifon, R. (2012). Parenting in Context. Retrieved September 22, 2015. Family Mealtime. (n.d.). Retrieved September 22, 2015.