This isn’t surprising. After all, eating together gives families time to communicate and support each other.

Here are some suggestions for planning family meals:

  • Keep it simple. Don’t worry about cooking a gourmet meal. The easier the food is to cook, the more time you’ll have with your family. Going out to eat is an option, too.

  • Be creative. If your family can’t eat dinner together, plan another special meal. Some families eat breakfast together. Others meet for dessert at the end of the day.

  • Have fun. Include everyone in the conversation. Avoid adult topics that kids won’t enjoy.

  • Let your child pitch in. It’s fun for kids to help plan and prepare meals. They can help shop, cook, set the table and more.

  • Introduce your child to new words. One study showed that kids who heard new words at dinner scored higher on vocabulary tests. Try using specific words, such as “squash” instead of “vegetables.”

  • Invite others to join you. Host a meal or plan a potluck dinner. Another idea: Bring dinner to friends one night and have them return the favor another time.

  • Start family traditions. For example, you might make pancakes on Saturday mornings or eat out on Sunday nights. The best traditions only need two ingredients: family and fun.

Copyright © Parent Institute