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How to Have Family Dinner

Posted by on Oct. 6, 2012 at 9:34 AM
  • 12 Replies

How to Have Family Dinner

Posted: 06/27/2012 11:02 am

The more I talk to parents today -- on my blog and even just at the bus stop -- the more it seems like dinner has come to resemble more of an obligation than a time of day to sit down and exhale. Yes, our days look different than they did back when our parents were feeding us: There was no expectation to be digitally connected to the office 24/7; there were not nearly as many sports activities beginning at 6:00 at night (at night!), but somewhere along the way family dinner seems to have turned into a giant report card, with all of us being graded on an overwhelming number of factors. To name just a few:

  • Are you all sitting down together?
  • Are you all getting along?
  • Are you all eating the same thing?
  • Is that same thing wholesome and homemade?
  • Is that homemade same thing made with ingredients that are organic?
  • Local? Sustainable?
  • Are you getting detailed updates from your children?
  • Are you discussing the National Debt?

I eat with my family every night. For three years, I've been writing about eating with my family every night. And if I was grading myself on all these factors I would be failing miserably. Do I need to remind you that this is my job? Is there any wonder why parents with real jobs -- in real offices with real commutes -- are overwhelmed by the idea of executing a simple shared meal?

This is why, when people ask me where to start, I always say to start small and build. You can probably get to the point where you are getting A's every night on all the factors listed above (well, except maybe the National Debt one), but if you are just starting out -- and especially if you have kids -- it's going to be hard to get to that point right away. Start by focusing on three of those factors, which I believe to be the cornerstones of family dinner as I once knew it:

1. Is every member of the family is accounted for and seated, facing
one another?

2. Is there a homemade meal on the table?

3. Is everyone eating (more or less) the same thing.

If I can honestly say that I can answer yes to two of these three questions, then you better believe I'm marking it down on my Successful Family Dinner report card. That means it counts if everyone is at the table eating takeout moo shu pork. If my husband and I are eating squid while our daughters are sitting with us chowing down on cheeseburgers, that counts, too. If only my husband is there, but they're all eating grilled double-cut lamb chops and kale salad, I'm going to feel pretty good about that. And if you can't swing that right away? Don't sweat it. The best thing about dinner is that you know you can start all over again tomorrow.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jenny-rosenstrach/how-to-have-family-dinner_b_1615822.html?utm_hp_ref=parents-moms

Proud Navy Wife since 1/10/06; toddler girl Mother to McKenna since 12/11/08,  toddler girl McKaela since 5/27/10 & baby girl Maisie since 8/15/11.

 Due in September? Join us in September 2011 Babies!

by on Oct. 6, 2012 at 9:34 AM
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Replies (1-10):
elasmimi
by on Oct. 6, 2012 at 9:36 AM

I used to try to force my family to eat at the table, but somehow we always drift back to the living room with trays. I read an article that said 47% of American families do this now. So I gave it up, and at least we are all together. The tv is on, but we talk and enjoy being together.

Harris06
by Megan on Oct. 6, 2012 at 9:41 AM

Yeah, I don't think that there is any one way to have a family dinner. I try to sit at the table but it works for a little bit and then my husband goes back to the living room and I wind up eating at the counter. But, like you said, we may not be having the most conventional dinner but we are together.

Quoting elasmimi:

I used to try to force my family to eat at the table, but somehow we always drift back to the living room with trays. I read an article that said 47% of American families do this now. So I gave it up, and at least we are all together. The tv is on, but we talk and enjoy being together.


Proud Navy Wife since 1/10/06; toddler girl Mother to McKenna since 12/11/08,  toddler girl McKaela since 5/27/10 & baby girl Maisie since 8/15/11.

 Due in September? Join us in September 2011 Babies!

MamaMandee
by Mandee on Oct. 6, 2012 at 2:40 PM

We all sit down at the table almost every night ....if everyone is home. 

alliesmom112
by Sandy on Oct. 6, 2012 at 2:43 PM

We have dinner together every night except Wednesday. We all eat at church for Wednesday night supper but dd has choir practice before church so her and I go earlier and then dh meets us there after work. Other then that every night we eat dinner together at the table

jessicasmom1
by Bronze Member on Oct. 6, 2012 at 2:57 PM

we sit at the dinner table and eat our meal then talk the day over.

Bob192
by Member on Oct. 6, 2012 at 4:34 PM

We need to work more on this, it is important to have that time.

SweetLuci
by Bronze Member on Oct. 6, 2012 at 7:51 PM

 The answer is yes to all the above. both DH and I feel it is important. The tv is off and we eat and talk.

SlightlyPerfect
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by Bronze Member on Oct. 6, 2012 at 10:47 PM

We eat dinner almost every night, as a family, at the table, with no electronics. And I cook every night. I won't allow anything else. Most nights I have dinner on that table when DH gets home from work.

Yet it is amazing to me when my DD, who is 3, has a breakdown because "I don't wanna eat dinner as a family!" Like, who says that!???? Luckily it's subsided a bit, but there was just a time when she had a breakdown before dinner. So we waited until she was calm and then ate as a family.

slightlyperfect

JoJoBean8
by Bronze Member on Oct. 7, 2012 at 3:52 PM

WE eat every night together except Sunday because hubby works

slw123
by Member on Oct. 7, 2012 at 4:44 PM

We eat dinner together most nights.

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