large family having Breakfast

Bond over Breakfast

It can be tricky to get everyone around the dinner table at the same time—though you know it’s a good habit. So why not come together at breakfast instead? Here are hints to help make it happen.

When you’re pressed for time during the morning rush, connecting with your loved ones over a shared breakfast might seem like a far-fetched goal. But whether you’re seated around the dining table or simply perched at the kitchen counter, this healthy habit pays off in spades.  

“These days, most families don’t spend enough time together talking, playing, hanging out, and enjoying the sustaining energy loved ones can provide,” says Edward Hallowell, MD, a psychiatrist and the author of Connect: 12 Vital Ties That Open Your Heart, Lengthen Your Life, and Deepen Your Soul. “We’re infinitely more connected electronically than ever before in human history, but we are ironically growing more and more disconnected interpersonally.”

His prescription: “I call it ‘the other vitamin C—vitamin Connect.’ It’s free and infinite in supply, but most people don’t get enough of it, simply because they spend too much time on their electronic devices or rushing from one obligation to another.” To get your minimum daily requirement of vitamin Connect, try reserving time for breakfast as a couple or as a family.

Here are a few simple tips to help you start your breakfast habit—and keep it going for the long haul.

Make it a priority

Specify a time for breakfast early enough that everyone can make it. It may take a week or two for the new routine to cement, but hang in there and it will become something everyone counts on and looks forward to.

Go easy on the prep work

What you eat isn’t as important as the fact that you’re enjoying your food together. So forget trying to pull together an elaborate egg dish, stick to your family’s tried-and-true morning favorites and keep the focus on bringing your family closer. When the weekend rolls around, go ahead and whip up some waffles. Or give everyone a turn at being in charge of the menu.

Share stories—and kitchen duty

The fun—and potential chaos—of cooking together is not to be underestimated. As the table’s being set and the milk is being poured, there will be opportunities for fun banter and to hear what’s on everyone’s mind. When mealtime’s over, make sure everyone chips in with clean-up duty—after all, everyone has a busy day ahead of them.

Shake up the ritual every now and then

On special days like birthdays, pour orange juice into champagne flutes and gather for a toast. Or treat the family to breakfast out. A Panera Bread® bakery-cafe may be just the place everyone can agree on.