If you’re a fan of sitting the kids down for their dinner at 5pm, you may want to think again.

A dietitian is warning parents about letting your child eat earlier than the rest of the family.

Alex Parker, dietitian from The Biting Truth told Kidspot, “If children are eating at 5pm they are generally eating without their parents.”

“There is a huge amount of evidence to show the positive social skills associated with children eating meals with the family ,” she continued.

One huge benefit of sitting down with the family is that their vocabulary will come on in leaps and bounds.

“Researchers found that for young children, dinnertime conversation boosts vocabulary even more than being read aloud to,” she said.

“Dinner is the most reliable way for families to connect and find out what’s going on with each other.”

“Children who share family meals three or more times per week are more likely to be in the healthy weight range, and have healthier dietary and eating patterns,” she said.

What time do your little ones have dinner?

Share your comments below

  • Depends on the child really. Some of them were fed earlier but had a second dinner later with the family. Even if it is a just a few bits on a plate they get to eat with us. Otherwise a late snack for them at four to carry them over. Now the youngest are 6 we all eat together unless dad is home late and he gets to eat by himself.


  • in our house (2 toddlers) the kids eat earlier. They go to bed at 7, and with both my husband and i working they don’t get home from daycare til after 6. So it’s a real rush to get them fed and into bed. But one of us always sits with them. After they go to bed then we think about what the adults can eat. As they get older I do plan on having meals together, but it’s just not overly doable at the moment.


  • Depends on their age if it’s a baby/toddler with a 6pm bedtime 5 is practical.


  • We eat between 5-6pm together. I hate going to bed on a full stomach.


  • I know of people who eat at 5pm, but not without their kids. It’s the whole family together, whatever the time.


  • We do not do this in my family; we all eat together!


  • No separate meals – all family meals – time to eat and socialise.


  • Mine eat when I eat, I have never done the early thing


  • We all eat the same time, usually 6pm unless after school activities are late


  • We didn’t eat with our kids when they ate this early, but we did sit down to talk to them.


  • I also found that 5pm was too early as they’d want more food by 7pm.


  • We always eat dinner together (me, dad & kids). In the mornings and lunches it’s just me and the kids but regardless we eat together.


  • I never had separate meal times for my kids. They ate when we did, with us! Why would you want separate meal times? What a lot of unnecessary trouble

    • I agree – seems like a lot of extra work and not the best use of time.


  • I’m starving by 5pm. We usually eat between 5 and 6. But its every thats home.


  • Our daughter always ate with us, since she was a baby. Personally none of us has ever eaten at 5 pm. :-) We always waited for my husband to come back from work and ate dinner around 7-7:30


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