According to a recent survey...1/10 families never sit down to an evening meal together. I am writing a feature on the decline of family meal times and why it is we don't eat together anymore for my MA in Magazine Journalism. I was wondering what you guys thought about this? How often do you spend family time at the dinner table? Do you find other ways to have quality family time?
I really appreciate your input. Many thanks! Steph
I prefer to eat my meal in evenings when kids r in bed and i can relax with a glass of wine, having said that i do force myself to sit at table with my kids and eat with them more often than not just so we have 'quality family time' otherwise its hard to grab those precious moments.
We always do - I get in first from work, so make dinner (if DC1 hasn't already got it on) and then sit down with the DCs - DH joins us when he gets in. Weekend meals are always eaten together. We wouldn't have it any other way - it's the one time when we all get together and chat, and have that 'quality' family time. I also refuse point blank to cook more than one meal.
We eat as a family. My ex husband didnt see the point in it, and one of the first things I bought when he left was a table. We three (me and my 2 DSs) eat at the table 4 nights a week (2 nights at nursery, 1 at their dads) and we all eat together with no television or distractions. We talk, we interact.
Incidently, they have a small childs table at their dads and eat there, but with the TV on. I grew up with no TV on at dinner time, and find that far more important than all sitting together
Right, so 90% of families do at least sometimes...? Doesn't sound too bad, but it depends what it really means. There are quite a few families who work day/night shifts so that they don't have to use childcare - is that 'better' or 'worse' than a family which eats one or more meal together every day but uses full-time childcare? Does the survey mean that the 10% who never sit down together to eat a meal don't even have something in front of the same film from time to time? Possible, I suppose, but it sounds unlikely, and tbh some of my favourite family memories from growing up are of us all watching telly together and eating crumpets.
A couple I know recently split up. They had very high standards on the family eating together and having excellent table manners, and this was of course a good thing, but when things were bad between them, one of the members of the couple actually became tense just at the sight of a dining room table - the amount of pressure they were placing on themselves to be a functioning, happy family round an iconic table, with good table manners and eating well had become a burden. That seemed a real shame. It's completely feasible to have a happy, functioning family that doesn't look or behave like something out of an Oxo advert.
We eat dinner together every night, plus lunchtimes at weekends and when DS is not at nursery. DH works from home and I'm on mat leave so it's easy to organise. We've planned it this way because we think it's an essential part of our family life. So we eat at the table around 6.30, then follow up with bath/ bedtime.
Before we had kids we'd eat between 8.30 and 9.30 at night, so it's better for our bodies as well.
I think it is important to question the value of sitting round the table for a meal.
My family never did, and we were/are extremely close. We had a chinese takeaway on the living room floor watching the Antiques Roadshow.
My partner and I rarely bother and DD is not yet 2. I don't see it as impacting negatively on our family relationships. I think the act of sitting down for a meal has become more important than its supposed function and pressure is being put on families to do it without any examination of deeper issues.
My DH and I often work late, if I'm home earlier he is still home late. So all of us having dinner together never happens. Our only night would be Sunday but often we are out and about and come home to put DC to bed. Growing up with 4 siblings we rarely ate at the dinner table as we were always out at training or games for various sports. I do really like the idea and hope that it becomes a regular part of my children's lives.
Both DH and I work fulltime. DH returns from work around 9pm. I pick up DD and get home for 6pm - because she is shattered and ready for bed for 7pm I cannot sit down with a meal with her as she's tired and it's bedtime so her childminder gives her her dinner at 5pm - at the childminder's my DD sits down at the dining table and eats with her two childminders and their 5 other mindees plus the odd childminder family member - so in my mind she does actually sit down to a "family meal" each evening (and lunch!).
I wait until DH arrives home at 9pm to eat an evening meal with him.
On the weekends we all eat the family lunch together. But I can't stomach food at 5pm so DD still eats her evening meal earlier than DH and I.
As she gets older and her bedtime gets later then obviously we will eat together more as a family at night.
I ditto TethHearseHead's comments too: when I was really young and had an early bedtime I never ate dinner with my working parents. It was only much later, as a nearly-teen, and I started to go to bed later that we all had dinner together. But we did do many other activities together as a family during the weekends and school holidays (and breakfast of course). Despite not sharing an evening meal together, as a family we were always very close and family-focussed. I too question the value of focussing on a shared family dinner so long as you are interacting as a family for other activities.
We always ate together as a family when I was little, parents divorced when I was 11 acrimoniously.
I eat breakfast and an evening meal with my DC every day, lunch sometimes. It's not always the happy event it's built up to be, especially if I'm re-inforcing good table manners/nagging to come to the table, etc.
However, I have noticed that if over the holidays we have too many snacky type meals in the sitting room, their behaviour seems to suffer.
We do sometimes all eat together, more so at weekends. BUT with 6 children aged 2,4,6,8,11 and 12, it is always an ordeal ane NEVER vaguely resembles quality family time, think more feeding time at the zoo. And yes,we do have a very large dining room table LOL We do do LOTS of stuff together that we all enjoy, and fits my idea of Family Quality time much better! (hiking, pic-nics, museums, trips to the woods, long dog walks etc..board games with the older dc, jigswas with the younger ones...etc..)I think it is not possible for any one person to decide what makes quality family time for any other family....every family is very different.