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Is Family Meal Time A Thing Of The Past?

family meal time, spending quality time with the family, family time

I did something Sunday night for dinner that I haven’t done for quite a while. My son tilted his head and looked at me like I was an alien speaking a different language when I told him what we were doing.

I had our family eat together at the kitchen table.

It used to be the norm. When dinner was ready I would call my wife and son to come to the dinner table. Plates and silverware would be set at our usual places, the food sometimes placed in the middle table, other times on the kitchen counter to be served buffet style.

But lately we had fallen into a routine of each of us eating in our own space. My son would come downstairs, grab a plate of food, and return to his room where he would eat while he continued with whatever online video game he was playing. My wife would sit on the couch watching the evening news, while I would settle in front of my laptop and continue browsing the internet or reading emails from work.

That night we sat together at the kitchen table. My wife and I shared events about our day, and we even managed to pull some information out of our teenaged son regarding what he had done at his friend’s house that afternoon, as well as what projects he was working on for school. He also shared goals he had for upgrading his computer, and how much he had discovered they would cost by doing some research online.

Even though we shared information with each other, the most important thing about our dinner is that we were together, interacting with each other, and being a family. We showed each other that we care enough for each other to put away our electronic devices for a few minutes, look each other in the eye and listen to what they had to say. We are a family, not just a collection of people that happen to live under the same roof.

Our time together at the table didn’t last more than fifteen minutes, but it was the best fifteen minutes of the day. Who knows, maybe we’ll even do it again tonight, or better yet make a habit out of it once again.

Does your family still eat together at the kitchen table?

Brought to you courtesy of Brock

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10 Comments

  • It’s a never-ending battle. We live in a fairly small home, and our downstairs consists of living room, dining room, and kitchen. When you walk in our front door, you enter the dining room. That means that as hard as we try NOT to, whatever we carry in ends up on the dining room table. We always eat in the same room, but it’s usually the living room. I’m not crazy about that, and I try periodically to change it.

  • Wow, this is so interesting. I’m 55 and hold in my memory the tradition of our family eating together at the dining room table. Every night. Like clock work. We laughed, imagined, planned, etc.

    That connection was so important to me that I practice it today. It’s just me and my Mr. Neither of us had children. But we still eat together every night at the dinner table. That’s when we catch up, find out odd bits of this or that, plan and dream.

    It’s important…make sure you build it in as a part of the fabric of your family…

  • I don’t have kids yet, and my fiance and I only eat together at the table once in awhile. However, when we do have kids we’ll make it a priority as they are growing up. Lots of my friends/cousins that have kids ensure that they eat together at the dinner table.

  • We get our food buffet-style in the kitchen. It makes for quicker clean up. We always try to have dinner at the dining table together. Our 13-year old son does not always like it, but too bad. My wife and I always carry on a nice conversation. Once in awhile, we even get our son to chime in.

  • @Cathie We used to do that too…we’d all gather around the coffee table and eat while we watched TV. As I got sick of cleaning the carpets (and we got rid of the coffee table) that ended. Although when we have something like pizza we have been known to all eat while sitting on the couch. But, the other goal of sitting at the table is to pay attention to each other, and not the TV. Something for us to keep working on!

  • @Ree – thinking back to my childhood I can’t remember ever eating a meal anywhere else than the kitchen table. It’s those memories that prompted me to try to get us back in the habit. Life is so busy, it’s important to take those few minutes to connect as a family. Thanks for your thoughts!

  • @Bryce – Sounds like a typical teenager, and what happened at our table. We did get some useful information out of him. I always go with the 5 to 1 ratio…for every 5 questions I ask him, I’ll get one useful answer. 🙂

  • When my son was still at home, we ate every supper together. Even when he had ball practice, we waited until he got home to eat. Only on game days when the team ate out together did we not have the evening meal with him. So much got discussed at that table.

  • @Kathy – I hear you, even if my son says nothing (he always says *something*), he hears his mom and dad interact and hears what we’re saying. It’s such a great way to spend a little time together each day – gotta get that habit back! Thanks for your perspective!

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