The Importance of Family Dinners

christian family stewardship christian parenting family Mar 24, 2024
family eating together for dinner

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

Acts 2:42



Every family has routines. They are built into our lives, sometimes purposefully and sometimes naturally. These rhythms are important, as they give predictability and an understanding to the way life is structured within your particular family. Studies have shown that one of the most impactful routines in a family’s life is sharing family dinners together. It truly transforms the way families relate and connect, making it the highlight of the day together and the backbone of interactions. No matter where we’ve all been during the day, we come together around a table to fellowship and enjoy each other. This practice is one all families should prioritize!

The Why

Family dinners cannot happen by accident. While some routine practices fall naturally into place, this is something that must be planned and pursued. This purposefulness helps bring the family together and demonstrates that our time around the table is valuable and treasured. This gives us the opportunity to discuss things as a family and share about our days – the good and the bad – and provide encouragement. This fellowship bonds us together in a way that a passing conversation does not.


The How

For our family, we have found a way of sharing dinners that works well for us. We generally eat at the same time each day and sit in the same spots. Our food is served on the counter, buffet style, which keeps our table less cluttered. We make sure that everyone has an opportunity to share about their day: their favorite thing that happened, any challenges, a special blessing, etc.

Since we are all gathered together and sitting still, we also often have family worship at this time. We read a family devotional, sing a hymn, and pray. Before we leave the table, we like to review our plan for the evening and the next day, and sometimes review our family purpose (core values, guiding principles, mission and vision statements, etc.).


Our Expectations

In our home, family dinner is a top priority. This means that we try and minimize activities that would interfere with it. We also don’t let our children leave the table as soon as they finish eating, rather we are all present through our family worship time. We encourage everyone to listen well as we share together. We don’t allow any electronics – especially phones – and we train our children to avoid having side conversations while someone else is speaking. This helps all family members feel heard and respected.


Outside Studies

The Family Dinner Project is a tremendous resource if you have a desire to cultivate family togetherness around your dining table. They have all kinds of recipes, activities, conversation ideas, and parenting advice on their website, along with scientific studies exploring the benefits of families eating together.

What they’ve found is truly incredible. Families who regularly eat together report that their children perform better academically, have higher self-esteem, show greater resilience, and enjoy stronger cardiovascular health. Children also have a significantly lower risk of substance abuse, teen pregnancy, depression, eating disorders, and obesity. Preschoolers who eat with their families have markedly bigger vocabularies and young adults have much healthier eating patterns.



Every family is going to have routines. The key is to be proactive and purposeful with the routines you choose to establish. Having family dinners is one of the most natural and beneficial practices that parents can put in place to connect with their children and improve their physical and mental health. Time around a table bonds people together with good food and conversation, and keeps relationships healthy. The benefits for everyone are extensive! If you are not currently having a regular family dinner, we strongly encourage you to put this routine into place. The Family Dinner Project is a great resource to explore if you need some inspiration!


Key Points

  • Eating family dinners together truly can transform your entire family’s life.
  • This should be done in a consistent manner on a regular basis.
  • There are many short-term and long-term benefits of family dinners, especially in the development and health of children.


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