Family BondingA Family That Eats Together Stays Together


A Family That Eats Together Stays Together

Family is all about experiencing life together. Your understanding of society, how the world works, and how you grow up, are all determined by the experiences you had within your family. The person that you are is shaped by your experiences with your family. This family bond that you share through the activities you take part in as a group helps strengthen that bond. And nothing deepens that bond like eating together with your family.

We all have heard the saying, “A family that eats together, stays together”. But have you ever given thought to why that is the case? It is just eating together, how can that be so important to family bonding? That is because when you eat, the part of your brain that feels stimulated is also the part that is active when you feel comfortable and safe. And being around family promotes that feeling as well!

There is a lot about food and family psychology involved with eating together. When you combine food with the comfort of your family, you help increase family bonding. With that said, let’s take a closer look at eating together, and how it helps grow your relationship with your family.

How Food and Family Bonding is Related?

Every time you are together with your family, there is a sense of comfort and warmth. What’s interesting is that the same part of the brain that is stimulated when you eat is also the one that seeks to feel comfort. It is called the amygdala, and this part of the brain also holds your memories and emotions.

When you are together with your family, you share that experience as a collective. The memories you make, the emotions you feel, and the sense of belonging are all how bonds within a family develop. And what better way to bond than to share a meal with your family? You may have done it without realizing but the bond with your family develops naturally, and food is a big factor contributing to it.

Studies have shown that families that take part in meals together have a deeper bond and other aspects that help develop healthy habits in an individual. So, let’s look at how important eating together actually is.

Importance of Families Eating Together

Because family bonding occurs when a family is eating together, some important aspects of family bonding develop:



Communication is important to any family bonding. It creates a path for the members of the family to share what is on their minds and what is bothering them. It also shows that other members of the family are trusting you enough to open up to you. It also promotes family bonding by opening up to family members to take an interest in what others are doing. Remember, no one can read minds, so you have to be open and honest about your feelings so that the other person is able to understand and communicate back with you.

Assigning roles

It becomes messy if people don’t know what they are doing. Especially at the dinner table. The day is coming to an end and you are just about to have dinner with your family members. But the dinner table isn’t set so someone rushes to set it up. And then no one wants to take responsibility to clean the dishes. It’s such a mess!

Luckily, a family that eats together also decides who is doing what before, during, and after eating. By assigning roles, you know what you have to do and over time do it more efficiently. It also creates discipline in family members that is easily translatable to other parts of their lives. Everyone in the family should play a part when they are getting together for a meal.

Teaching experience

Teaching experience

It isn’t all about eating. Sharing a meal can also be a teaching experience. Table manners are really important and when younger members of the family copy what the older ones do. That is how the young ones learn table etiquette, where they should sit, how they should eat, which utensils they should be using, etc. This copying and learning from other family members deepens family bonds between members and brings them closer together.

A teaching experience could also come from when people share stories about their lives and learn about each other. I have had the experience where I did not know a member of my family was really good at art till they were recognized for their school art competition. So when a family that eats together not only learn from each other but also about each other.


Routine is something you will have to follow every day of your life. Waking up for work or school, setting appointments for the day, doing your chores, etc. Eating together can help you understand that importance. Setting up a time to eat encourages family members to come on time and be prepared for their meals. Such a simple concept can be started just by eating together as a family. This promotes family bonding by allowing members to sync up their times with each other so you get to have a set time you spend time with your family over a meal.

Feeling like being part of something

In today’s busy world, balancing work and family can be a challenge. However, establishing traditions can help bring families closer together. For example, scheduling a weekly family dinner can create a sense of togetherness and belonging, making everyone feel like they are part of something special. Usually, adolescents and teenagers tend to isolate themselves from their family members. More so as they mature and grow older. This weakens the bond between the family so you can try and include them in family activities as much as possible. And what better way to do it than to share a meal together?

And there are more reasons why families need to eat with each other! Always try to make some time to eat with your family as it is more beneficial than you think. Especially, the importance that you cannot see.

Psychology Behind Eating Together

Psychology behind eating together

The psychology of eating together promotes togetherness in the family. We don’t really get to see it, but there’s a psychological connection that forms between family members that is deeper than any other relationship. So let’s look what’s the psychology behind eating together.


The bond between parent and child, partners, and other family members is important. A sense of attachment forms as the bond in the family deepens. Remember about eating and comfort? The sense of attachment grows fonder when people are comfortable around each other. So when family members are eating together, their attachments to each other grow as well, whether you can see it or not. It happens more so on an unconscious level and you associate that comfort eating for your family with the members that are present.

Emotional and mental well-being

Not only will it help with attachment, but eating together also helps with the emotional and mental well-being of family members. As I have mentioned about family members isolating themselves, it’s not good for their mental health to have prolonged periods of detachment from the rest of the family. It stops them from being open about their lives and trusting other people.

By eating together, the closeness that they form with other family members helps them with their emotional and mental well-being. They are more likely to be happier and actually engage with other people instead of being so closed off. So eating together helps with this issue.

Mental and eating disorders

It might be taboo to talk about mental health issues within a family. But a family is supposed to be there for each other and support each other through their difficulties. Studies have shown that families who regularly share meals together, about 3 to 5 meals a week, are less likely to have some sort of disorder. Especially eating disorders, which is something that other family members can watch out for and help with. It’s hard to overcome any type of disorder in your life but with the help of a family, that burden can be eased.

Better school results

Another study has shown that children tend to produce better results as they eat together as a family. This is because their moods are uplifted, they are communicating, and are more active in their classrooms because of the things they have learned while eating together.

So there you have it. Psychologically speaking, it is beneficial for a family to eat together as it makes the family closer to each other while promoting good health benefits.

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Occasions Where You Can Eat Together

Occasions where you can eat together

The calendar year is filled with occasions and events that you and your family can partake in to have family meals. These are some of them:

  • Thanksgiving Dinner
  • Christmas
  • Weddings
  • Sporting events
  • Birthday parties
  • National holidays
  • Religious events
  • Planned vacations

There are many occasions over a year when you can plan to have a meal with your family. So get to planning for such occasions and sit down to have a meal with your family.

Religion and Eating Together

Religion talks a lot about family and the closeness of a family. If your family is religious, then it is any religious event will be a time for a family to come together. The Bible talks about the importance of eating together as a family in 1 Corinthians 11:34 and 1 Corinthians 11:20-22. Especially on Sundays after church, it is a good time for a family to come together and have a big family meal to celebrate and strengthen the family bonds.


  1. Can you have a family meal outside your home?
    Yes, you can! It can be part of a group activity for a family to go out and eat together.
  2. What to do if a family member does not want to take part in a family meal?
    Don’t force them. Always invite them to eat together. Sometimes we need some space in a family and deal with issues alone. Talk to them and help their situation and always encourage them to eat with your family so that you can handle the issue together.
  3. Can I invite my friends to family meals?
    Of course, you can! Just make sure other members of the family are on board with your idea of bringing other people

Final Thoughts

Overall, a family eating together benefits everyone involved. Eating a meal together helps set a standard for a family to follow. The comfort and family help bring a family closer together. There are also psychological phenomenons that help strengthen the family bond to become even stronger. As the saying goes, “A family that eats together, stays together”. That is in fact true because the closer the family is, the more they stay together.

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Maria W. Corley is a family psychology expert dedicated to helping families thrive. With a passion for improving relationships, Maria shares practical advice on Merge Family. Her goal is to make your family feel closer than ever by addressing communication issues and fostering understanding.

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