Why You Should Create a Nightly Family Dinner Routine

Cooking

August 18, 2022

A nightly family dinner routine is one of the age-old traditions that has struggled to stick around in current times. With more parents working than ever before, extracurriculars for kids, and the general chaos of life, it can feel almost impossible to make sure that dinner is eaten as a family each night.

Even so, it’s so important to set aside this time each day to check in with each other, spend quality time, and keep that close-knit relationship alive. There are some incredible ways to make your nightly dinner routine exciting, but my personal favorite is by cooking as a family. *surprise, surprise*

Breaking Bread

Because cooking is just the most natural thing for me to do, it gets dinner done (cross that off the list), and brings family (and friends) together over food. And we all know and probably all agree that nothing brings people together more than food can. There is something special about breaking bread with another person. People just feel closer to other people who are eating the same food as they are. Right?

Just think about all your family holidays, traditions, celebrations. Food involved right? Hanging out with a friend? Food. First “special” date? Food. It’s the common bond.

Below are some of the reasons I personally love this idea so much and why I believe you will too!

When you have a family dinner routine, you can bond

I know exactly how challenging it can be to get your kids, especially teenagers (I’ve got one), to want to spend time together. I mean…how can they spend all that time in their rooms? And I KNOW…they’re not organizing or cleaning up.

It’s true. Everyone has busy lives, there’s no denying that. And school work never seems to end. However, one love that everyone has in common is the love for food. Kids are far more likely to be incentivized to bond if there is some sort of food involved.

One of the ways to get a teen down from their rooms? Food. I personally have always taken notes and realized that having your teen’s favorite snacks always available, scores some pretty points.

You can take things even further by cooking an appetizer, a meal, and a dessert together. This will keep you all communicating for hours, with little to no distractions. I find that for my family, these are some of the most precious, memory-making experiences that I look back on and smile about. And something tells me that this is something that you want to have too.

You Can Escape Electronics

Technology has created so many incredible opportunities for families. However, it also has a sneaky habit of taking time away from each other. Using a cell phone at the dinner table has become a common problem that parents struggle to keep on top of.

When you’re cooking dinner together as a family, everyone has a job that they are in charge of. With both hands occupied, using a phone or tablet becomes impossible. This frees up the time to ask each other questions, make silly dad jokes, and just converse as a family. Social media, video games, and TV are all seriously distracting and prevent any proper bonding from happening. This dedicated time without the electronics is so vital for genuinely connecting.

A Family Dinner Routine Incorporates Teaching 

Cooking is a skill that takes practice, patience, and effort to develop. By getting your family in the kitchen, they can begin building these life skills and picking up some education nuggets along the way.

For younger kids, learning to measure and count is a huge part of cooking. This will help them prepare for school at the same time. For older kids, learning to put a meal together will get them ready for when they are sent off to college or live on their own for the first time. No matter their age, your kids will slowly build on their skills and come out as cooking professionals before they know it.

A Family Dinner Routine Can Actually Be Fun!

Whether it’s at home or a cooking class, kids and adults are guaranteed to have a good time during their meal creation. Opting for a cooking class is a great way to get exposed to new recipes and push yourself to become more adventurous in the kitchen. It’s easy to get stuck in a recipe rut, right? Why try something new now when mac and cheese works?

Or are you avoiding complicated recipes out of fear of not being successful with it? I know, that alone can be a buzz-kill. If it turns out to be an epic food flop, you feel like you wasted your time, energy and the food itself. If you’re being totally honest with yourself, you feel embarrassed. That’s totally normal. We’re human! We don’t want to fail.

However, with an instructor-led cooking course, you and your family can gain confidence and begin to step outside your comfort zone. Another massive benefit of this is that you can do it from the comfort of your own home. You can do it on your own time. Fighting traffic and getting everyone loaded in the car can be an exhausting effort in itself. With the creation of at-home cooking classes, you can quickly gather everyone in the kitchen and get to crafting amazing meals TOGETHER.

A lot of times, I found this to be true with my students, that the kids sometimes like to hear instructions from someone else: a teacher, mentor, coach. Mom and Dad can get a break, and the kids too. It’s refreshing for all involved.

You can create the space that makes your family dinner an affair to look forward to. And guess what? You don’t need a big kitchen or a formal dining room.

WRAPPING IT UP

Creating a nightly dinner ritual has so many amazing benefits that will keep your family fed, bonded, and excited for the next time they get to cook. With how hectic life can be, this ritual goes a long way in preparing your kids for the future and keeping them grounded. You will never regret the time you spent invested in each other, and the memories you make together will last a lifetime.

Hey, Are We Friends Yet?

Are we friends on social media yet? Come follow along for more kitchen tips and inspiration. You can find me on Instagram @chef.rafael.gonzalez and on Facebook, Chef Rafael Gonzalez

Send a DM if you tried this recipe and feel free to tag me! 

A FREE GIFT FOR YOU

If you want to try more recipes, snag my FREE mini recipe e-book with 5 of the most popular dishes my students cooked with me on the Outschool platform during the height of the pandemic. These recipes have found a cozy spot in the kitchens of many kids and parents and they continue to cook the same meals, 2 years after. 


You can get your FREE copy right HERE.

My son made a flavorful dish that is perfect for a weeknight meal since there is minimal prep and the dish cooks in one pan. As always, Chef Raf makes sure his students understand the directions and techniques. He is engaging and encouraging. My son loves cooking with him.

beef and broccoli

Jennifer P.

Parent of a Junior Chef

“The fried rice was wonderful and the chicken was super simple. The prep was the hardest part and the actual cooking was a breeze for my daughter. Chef always breaks down the steps so they are easy to understand and gives good secret tips to make cooking easier.”

general tso chicken

Jennifer W.

Parent of a Junior Chef

WANT TO TRY SOME QUICK AND EASY RECIPES TO START A FAMILY DINNER ROUTINE?

I hear ya! I gotcha!

Sometimes we just need a quick jump start to get dinner rolling and the family helping. Hey, it can be done! Your kids and your significant other can be helping you out!

You can try these easy weeknight recipes that leave your family looking forward to this “NEW ROUTINE”

Arugula Flatbread With Goat Cheese, Mushrooms and Prosciutto 

Simplified Spaghetti Bolognese

Tex Mex Chicken and Vegetable Fajitas 

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