Family mealtime is an invaluable part of your child’s day. Regularly shared dinners allow parents and children to connect and converse, and also inspire healthy habits in many aspects of life.

The benefits of sharing regular meals as a family, whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner, go beyond nutrition. Healthy meals are a plus, but quality conversations are extremely important and impactful to your child’s academic performance and behavior.

The memories made around the dinner table are imperative to your child’s future. Spending time together will instill habits in children that are necessary for becoming and remaining successful individuals throughout life.

Table manners

No matter where you are sharing a meal, it’s important to teach your children good table manners. This is an important skill to learn in order to be successful at interacting with other people and will serve your children for the rest of their lives when they are in public, at a friend’s house, a school function, and so on. Learning phrases like please and thank you, and etiquette like using a napkin, chewing with your mouth closed, not speaking with food in your mouth, offering help, and so on, increases your child’s ability to become a pleasant guest at the dinner table. Since your children learn so many important behaviors and ways of communicating that help them transition into adulthood, it’s important to make sure your dining space is comfortable and cozy, so they won’t put up a fight to leave the table early. These dining sets here provide plenty of space for families to talk about important topics, dine as a family, and teach important behaviors.

Stronger family bond

Once your child transitions into their teen years, it can become harder to stay connected and find time to share meals together regularly. However, it’s still extremely important, since teens who have more frequent family mealtimes are 1.5 times more likely to say they have a strong relationship with their parents. Teenagers go through so many changes, so it’s important to stay on top of their mental and physical well-being, which can be accomplished through shared dinners at least three times a week. Stay engaged with your teen and make the best part of mealtime be catching up and learning about their day.

Better choices

Making smarter choices when it comes to drug and alcohol use is so important for your child’s future success. Researchers found that teens who have infrequent meals as a family are twice as likely to have used tobacco and almost twice as likely to have used alcohol. Teaching your children the repercussions of drug and alcohol use early on can help them avoid situations where they’d feel pressured into experimenting with drugs and alcohol. Helping your children say no and be comfortable not giving into peer pressure will help them be more independent and successful in their personal life and career as they get older.

Better grades

Children who sit down for regular family meals between five and seven times a week are twice as likely to receive B’s or higher in school. Encourage your children to study at the table with traditional flashcards or with apps like Tinycards. This flashcard app is a fun way to learn vocabulary and prepare for exams. It also keeps your children engaged and focused on learning while spending valuable time together as a family.

Healthy eating habits

Although there are many other benefits to family mealtime, nutrition is still important. Preparing home-cooked meals and exposing children to healthy and new foods early on helps them live healthier lives. In fact, children who ate less than two meals together a week were 40 percent more likely to be overweight than children who ate regular meals together as a family. Look for creative ways to prepare nutritious dinners that are still healthy and delicious but don’t take up all your time, like these make-ahead freezable meals here.

Some of the best memories are made around the dinner table, so make sure you set aside time during the week to connect as a family over a healthy meal. Your children will be glad you did as they reap the benefits of regular family mealtime into adulthood.