Eat. Talk. Connect.

Connecting over mealtime

When we sit down to eat together, we connect with our children. It is a regular opportunity to communicate values and teach lessons. Most importantly, our children feel loved and connected as part of a family. Start simple, but start!

Recent studies show that children who share at least three meals with their families each week do better in school, experience less stress and depression, have better social skills, are healthier, and are less likely to smoke, use drugs or alcohol, or engage in sexual activity.

Try some of these ideas:

  • Get everyone involved. Take turns planning, cooking, and cleaning up. Even the smallest child enjoys the meal more if he gets to help cook or set the table.
  • Keep conversations enjoyable. This isn’t the time for discipline, lectures or interrogations.
  • Take turns leading the discussion. If one person seems to talk all the time, set time limits so everyone gets a turn.
  • Make meals fun and special.
  • Listen.
  • Move the TV out of the dining area or turn it off during your meal.
  • Have fun!

Try these tonight and see what happens at your table!

  • Name someone younger than you who looks up to you. How do you know that he or she looks up to you?
  • If you were granted one wish, what would it be?
  • Tell each person at the table something that is good or admirable about them.

Laurie David's "The Family Dinner"

Laurie David's new book, "The Family Dinner" is receiving accolades from parents across the country.

"If you can muster the energy for only one tool to raising a healthy family, make it having family dinner. This book will help you make those meals easy, fun, and of lasting impact.” — Tom Hanks, actor, producer, dad

The Family Dinner also includes words of wisdom from: Jamie Oliver, Mario Batali, Alice Waters, Mark Bittman, Cat Cora, Rev. Ed Bacon, Pat and Gina Neely, Soledad O’Brien, Tal Ronnen, Michael Pollan, Nora Ephron, Dr. Maya Angelou, Billy Collins, and many others.