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Author Topic: Does/Did your family sit down to dinner?  (Read 7485 times)

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Does/Did your family sit down to dinner?
« on: June 03, 2013, 12:36:31 PM » in Slate today got me thinking about families eating together.

It reminded me of a conversation I had years ago with a neighbor. They were a typical busy family with three teenagers and both Mom and Dad working full time jobs.  I was really impressed at what a good relationship they had with their kids. Since our DD was very little at the time, I asked him how he managed to raise such great kids.

His answer: "We screw up a lot and make tons of mistakes, but the one thing we do is eat dinner together every night".

What about your family? Did you eat together every night, or if you have a family now, do you still do so? Do you think it makes a difference?

FWIW, DH and I did follow our neighbor's example.


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Re: Does/Did your family sit down to dinner?
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2013, 12:42:36 PM »
DP and I eat dinner together 99% of the time (when we don't, it's been because of church stuff or work stuff, or when she couldn't eat while in the hospital, and that's a thing of the past - now we're together 100% of the time for dinner).

Growing up, we ate dinner together many nights, until I was in my senior year, when I'd eat away from home as much as possible. We did eat all perched on my parent's bed (!) as there was no dining room or dining room table, no couch or living room - my parents had/have some issues with their house and hoarder tendencies, and the bed was the only place that was always clear, even if the floor around it was three feet thick (no kidding) with papers and dirty clothes. Thinking back on my childhood, it's a wonder I am even fit for human society.


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Re: Does/Did your family sit down to dinner?
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2013, 12:45:43 PM »
We ate together as a family every night when I was growing up. It was nice, and I'm glad that we did.

Now, we're getting better about it, but with DH in school and the kids being so little, we never established the habit.
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Re: Does/Did your family sit down to dinner?
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2013, 12:53:47 PM »
My parents had us eat together for dinner every night possible. Now, my family doesn't every night, but we do a couple times a week.
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Re: Does/Did your family sit down to dinner?
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2013, 12:56:50 PM »
Growing up we ate dinner together everyday but Saturday. My dad worked at an auction and had to leave mid afternoon to go to the auction - so  Saturday was Mom's day off from cooking a new meal. we ate sandwiches, leftovers etc.  Before we divorced we sat down to dinner most nights. now it is just my daughter (23) and me, working different schedules so we dont sit down to eat very often.


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Re: Does/Did your family sit down to dinner?
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2013, 12:59:53 PM »
My first semester away at college, only a 1 1/2 drive, my parents, one older and two younger siblings came to visit for an evening.  My roommates and I cooked dinner for everyone.  As poor college kids we had a small octagonal table that could seat six at max, and only three chairs.  We figured everyone could eat around the table and living room, since it all flowed together.  When my family arrived they brought folding chairs with them and everyone squeezed around the dinner table.  We had a great dinner and a fun time visiting.  My family always ate dinner together at the dinner table, whoever was home when dinner was served.  But I never realized until that night in college how important that tradition was in my family. 
My own family follows the tradition when everyone is home.  But when DH is away I usually feed the two kids at the table and eat in front of the computer.  I think I'm going to stop that right now.   :)


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Re: Does/Did your family sit down to dinner?
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2013, 01:24:54 PM »
Growing up, we ate dinner. At the table. All the time.  There were few exceptions, but there were some.  Answering the phone during dinner was not allowed.

Oogydad and I established the habit of sitting at the table to eat early on, and continued it when the girls came along.  I know it made a difference to maintain the status quo when he was deployed, but I think it mattered more when he was home. 

We've drifted away from it since we've been "empty-nesters", but started again when DD1 and her family lived with us last school year.

I do believe it's important in several ways.  It provides focused family time, without making a big deal of "togetherness".  It gives opportunity for discussion.  It helps to establish good eating habits at the same time providing a forum to teach table manners in an "everyday" type setting. 

Last, but not makes cleanup a whole lot easier when everyone is done at pretty much the same time.  Especially when you're teaching the children to take their dishes to the sink.   :D
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Re: Does/Did your family sit down to dinner?
« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2013, 01:28:32 PM »
Growing up, we ate breakfast and dinner as a family every day at the table in the dining room. No television or radio was allowed nor any phone calls; if anyone called the phone simply went unanswered and people knew to call back later. I think it was good; if I'd had children I would have enforced the same rule. When eating together you focus on conversation at the table.


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Re: Does/Did your family sit down to dinner?
« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2013, 01:51:12 PM »
Growing up, dad would get home from work about the time we got off school and had dinner ready by the time mom got home. Until high school, we ALWAYS had dinner together. Once I hit HS, the only reasons to miss dinner was being out with friends, school events, or work. When I moved back in with my parents after college, they never ate together any longer.

When I'm home in the evenings with my sister and niece, the three of us sit around the table and eat together. Sis says she's going to try to raise the niece always eating dinner at the table because she has so many great memories of family around the table, squeezing in, passing food across, and stealing drinks from each other. (It's a longstanding tradition, my sister didn't pay attention very well at dinner, so my mom would engage her in conversation and then brazenly drink right out of my sister's cup. We still do it at restaurants sometimes.)

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Re: Does/Did your family sit down to dinner?
« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2013, 02:00:55 PM »
We ate dinner together every night when I was growing up, with a few exceptions. Even in high school, it was at least 6 nights a week.  My parents are retired empty-nesters and still eat dinner together at the table every night, even when they're on their boat for the weekend.

My ex-husband and I never ate together, and it was one of the many things that reduced the emotional intimacy of our relationship.


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Re: Does/Did your family sit down to dinner?
« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2013, 02:08:53 PM »
Growing up, we ate dinner together whenever we were all home, though it was more and more often just mom and the kids because my dad tried to be home as little as possible.  Once he stopped being around as much, we started eating in front of the TV most nights -- we generally talked over it, but it was on.

My husband and I eat dinner together every night. He entertains me while I cook, and we either sit at the bar or on the couch because we don't have a kitchen table. It is really nice.

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Re: Does/Did your family sit down to dinner?
« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2013, 02:20:58 PM »
DH and I eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner together unless we can't (DH has a lunch meeting, for example), and we keep DD (nine months) in her high chair with Cheerios or other finger food so we'll be in the habit when she's older.  Growing up, I remember eating dinner together when I was grade school age, but by high school it seems like we were more likely to drift through the kitchen and eat whenever and wherever.  I don't recall why that happened, but I hope to avoid it when DD is older!
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Re: Does/Did your family sit down to dinner?
« Reply #12 on: June 03, 2013, 03:00:25 PM »
When I was a child, we ate together every night.  There were rare times when my father had to work overtime.  Because the overtime involved the unloading of a ship, we never knew when exactly he would come home.  On those evenings, Mom and I would have dinner at our usual time and I'd do my homework.  If Dad became home before my bedtime, Mom and I would sit at the table and have a cup of tea so he wouldn't have to eat alone.  No matter how late he came home, Mom would be there with a warm dinner for him and a cup of tea for herself.

Now, Mr. Thipu and I almost always have Dinner together.  Several times a year he'll go out for a dinner with former co-workers and I'll fend for myself.  A similar thing happens with me and my friends.  Still, I would say that we take our main meal together 360 evenings a year.   


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Re: Does/Did your family sit down to dinner?
« Reply #13 on: June 03, 2013, 03:03:09 PM »
I grew up eating dinner every night with my family. DH and I eat dinner together every night as well, and breakfast together on weekends. I love cooking, but the most rewarding part of it is the pleasure I bring to others, so it's important to me to be with him when we eat. :)

We do eat in front of the TV a lot, though! I also like to cuddle while we eat...
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Re: Does/Did your family sit down to dinner?
« Reply #14 on: June 03, 2013, 04:29:10 PM »
We ate every meal together growing up unless one of us kids were working or involved in a sport or other activity that took us away from dinner.  Dinnertime was a non-negotiable 5:30 PM unless it was a special occasion. 

Now, DH and I eat dinner together almost every night as well unless one of us has some reason to be away from home.  We also eat breakfast together on the weekends.  Weekday breakfasts are eaten separately as DH leaves for work at 4:45 AM and I am not coherent at that hour.