Strive for consistency. Try to make family dinner a sacrosanct ritual. Whenever you can, schedule your work and activities around this immovable block. Sometimes very busy high-powered executives will come home from work, eat dinner with the fam, and then go back to work later. They do what they can not to miss it.Share
What’s great about prioritizing family dinners is that it gives you a goal to shoot for. If you know the wife and kids won’t be sitting down together and will just be fending for themselves, it’s tempting to rationalize continuing to plow through your work. But if you’re expected to be at the table, it’s easier to break away from what you’re doing and get home. Don’t beat yourself up if you have to forgo your family dinner sometimes. Research indicates that children who have dinner with their family at least three times a week enjoy the benefits of family dinners. So just try to be as consistent with it as you can.
It doesn’t actually have to be dinner. Many families today have schedules that make it hard to get everyone home for dinnertime. Dad or Mom works late, and one kid has soccer practice at 6PM while the other kid has a piano recital on the other side of town at 7. It only gets worse as the kids get older. I remember when I got into high school, I was barely ever home for family dinner due to football, work, or student council. Sometimes the solution is a much-needed simplification of our schedules, but it’s just not always possible to get everyone to the table at 6:00. Because of this, many families simply give up altogether on the idea of regularly sharing a meal. (Read more.)