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Tuesday, February 12, 2008


All You Can Eat

We all know the benefits of eating dinner together as a family. Don't we?

Research shows that the simple act of having a nightly meal around the table leads to improved family communication, healthier diets for all, higher self-esteem for children, and so much more.

I thought this was one of those no-brainer concepts like making sure your children sleep at night and wear clothing when they go to school.

I was talking to a mother outside my daughter's classroom yesterday, and she admitted that her family's dinner hour is basically an all-you-can-eat buffet. She sets the various dishes out on the kitchen counter and the family all help themselves to what they want.

But then it turns into an eat-where-you-want buffet. The kids take their plates to the table, to their bedrooms, to the computer room. There's no rhyme or reason, no togetherness. Everyone does their own thing.

She said it's just the way they've always done it.

I think it's strange. Her family is missing out on one of the best times of the day. My family loves to gather around the table to share a meal each night. No TV, maybe some quiet music in the background, lots of discussion... That's the way we've always done it.

How does dinnertime work in your house?


Anonymous alli said...

We really try to sit down together to eat. It makes for a better meal and togetherness. Of course we don't always get to sit at the dining table, since our dining room does quadruple duty as office, crafts station, and library. But if we sit in the living room or around the kitchen island, we do it together. No TV, just us.

5:52 AM  
Blogger Carla said...

We always had dinner together around the table as a child growing up. As an adult we do this 99% of the time now. My step daughter is 17 and on very rare occasions do we not eat at the table together. You never know when you're creating a memory. We all love the time together and that's when we talk and listen to our 'dinner' music that one of us has picked out.

6:08 AM  
Blogger brettdl said...

We insist on the kids sit at the table through dinner together. No TV. Usually no music because it distracts the kids, but not always.

8:00 AM  
OpenID Christina Ethridge | North Idaho Real Estate said...

We are abnormal. Not only do we eat dinners together at the table with no TV, but we also eat breakfasts together at the table with no TV (and we rarely, rarely have cereal). It's just something we do. We didn't consciously set out to do it, it just came about and we all love it.

Now, once every week or two, we do what's called a 'carpet picnic' - where we as a family pick a movie to watch and eat 'picnic' food in the family room watching the movie. That is a very cherished time for us.

8:00 AM  
Anonymous TC said...

Like you, most of our dinners are together at the table. Weekend breakfasts too. Giggles and memories in the making are the best part. As the kids have gotten older they also help in preparing the meals, which adds to the specialness of it all.
Friday nights at our house often mean we eat "college style" which usually involves pizza or Chinese food, and watching a fun movie or TV show around in the living room. I guess I feel bad for the families that are missing this.

11:03 AM  
Blogger Kristen said...

We have always eaten together, but since my kids are all little, they are always griping about the food (unless it's pizza) and they ask to be excused about 5 minutes after we start eating. So right now dinnertime isn't all that pleasant or fun, but we are, at least, together, and will continue to be whether they like it or not! We also do tend to eat breakfasts together, in particular my husband and son who are usually up before anyone else and they have to eat first thing as they always wake up very hungry. I just sit and sip my coffee until I'm awake and then I will eventually eat.

11:30 AM  
Blogger Katey said...

My 17 year old DS just said last night "I can't imagine not sitting down as a family for dinner" The picture in my head after he said that? Him here with his wife and kids 10 years from now having never moved out....glad he likes being home though :)

12:59 PM  
Blogger BeyondBeliefs said...

All Living Things evolved on earth as a group, a herd, one village filled with family, with a roof being optonal.

It is not surprising that isolation from Life would cause our DE-Evolution.

4:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When my sister and I became busy teenagers, our longtime tradition of family dinners were not always possible. We had play practice, soccer games, and dance rehearsals to get to, and Mom and Dad had late meetings and book club and volunteering to do. But on nights when we couldn't eat dinner together, we at least tried to have cake, tea, or a midnight snack together. Usually we were all in our PJs and hung out in Mom and Dad's bed. It's a good alternative to keep in mind!

12:06 PM  
Anonymous Kat said...

We always have at least one meal all together (usually dinner, but sometimes breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner). Sometimes it is not possible to have dinner together (work, band, practice, meetings, etc) on those days we try to make lunch our main meal. Family meal time is sacred too. No TV, no getting down from the table early. It is time for everybody to get together and share. Even the youngest ones say their thankfuls and talk about their day. Sometimes (only a couple of times a year) we will have a dinner and a movie night where we watch a special family movie while eating dinner. That is a fun time too, but mostly fun because it is a rare treat.

6:13 PM  
Blogger April said...

Dinner together at the table has been an off and on goal for us. I have tried it several times. Often it ends up that my husband doesn't want to eat yet when we do because he has work to do, needs to unwind first, or has eaten a late lunch. So, then it is just me and the kids and well....I'm a stay at home mom that home-schools her children. We are together all day every single day....we do everything together...just not sit down at the table dinners very often. It always has sounded nice though. I'm glad to see from your other responses that so many people do get to do this.

9:10 PM  
Blogger Dad Stuff said...

We eat at the dining room table almost exclusively. I couldn't envision a meal without the family together.
We do sometimes treat ourselves to a picnic dinner and a movie in the living room.

9:31 PM  
Blogger toadman said...

Our dinner works out almost exactly like yours, with the occasional "eat those carrots then you can be done" or the "I saw you hide that meat under that bread" or the "waaaahhhaaaabbbllllaaaammamaadaadaa!!!!" at about ten million decibels from the baby.

12:29 AM  
Anonymous Beagoodmom said...

I agree with you. Another phenomeon I don't understand.....children's dinner time and Adults dinner time. Why do some people feed their young kids early and then themselves later? You can always give your kid a snack to that they can hold out until real dinnertime.

11:14 AM  
Blogger Java said...

Happy to report we all sit down together as well every night at the dinner table, no TV, just us talking, arguing, laughing etc etc. So glad to read the great benefits, phew!

2:56 AM  
Blogger Whit said...

I'll be the outcast on this one. I would love to say that we eat at the table together, but we rarely do.

My wife is very seldom home for dinner and I'll generally sit with the boys to eat, but if she is home we're more likely to feed them, bathe them and get them to bed before we feed ourselves- usually on the couch catching up on TiVo. It's not the cleavers, but it works for us.

8:15 PM  

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