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Is 6pm too late to invite UK family for dinner?

97 replies

Maia290 · 17/07/2015 21:52

I have invited some English friends for dinner to our house for a Saturday at 6pm, now my friend says their boy (4 years old) would have had his dinner at their home already.
I am wondering what to do, should I suggest at 5pm instead, but isn't this way too early for adults to have dinner??
Doesn't all the family eat dinner at the same time?
Do you normally invite friends with children for dinner, if so what time do you all normally eat? I am wondering if it easier to suggest lunch instead.
As it is strange they are coming for dinner but the boy has eaten already...
We live in England but we are foreigners.

OP posts:

FarFromAnyRoad · 17/07/2015 21:54

I'm not sure I'd invite adults with a 4 year old for anything except a late lunch/early BBQ type do. I know the English are thought to prefer eating early - and I suppose compared to the Italians that's true - but 6pm is silly early IMO! Are you committed to 'dinner' or could you make it a late lunch thing?


CultureSucksDownWords · 17/07/2015 21:54

Are they staying over?


StayGoldPonyBoy · 17/07/2015 21:57

6pm -7pm is dinner time for us. Not unreasonable at all


TheHouseOnBellSt · 17/07/2015 21:57

We have dinner with friends this's not late at all! Some people might get all "Ooh but he'll be tired" or "He usually eats at 5.00" as though there's no wiggle room....if your friends have accepted then assume they are happy with the arrangements.


itsaruddygame · 17/07/2015 21:57

6pm is definitely fine as far as I am concerned and DS is just 2. I wouldn't offer any earlier personally - 6 is child friendly enough in my view. Some people are very uptight about their children's routines which makes socialising ver hard!


mugglingalong · 17/07/2015 21:59

We would be perfectly fine with all of us eating together at 6. Some parents do have separate mealtimes for children, but we usually eat as a family to try to instill good table manners. I guess that arriving at 6 might mean that they think that they might not eat until 6:30 or 7.

It may be that he won't eat some foods so they find it easier to feed him before. I don't think that it is easy to give set English rules so you are probably best to ask them whether they would rather eat at 5 or lunchtime or stick with original arrangement.


museumum · 17/07/2015 22:00

My child eats at 6 (2yr old) and we sometimes eat with him but don't expect normal adults to eat that early. I'd be a little worried at going to a friends for 6 that it would be closer to 7 before food was served and my son would get grumpy and needs to sleep by 8 at the latest.
Much much easier for us to socialise as a family at lunchtime.


IWorshipSatin · 17/07/2015 22:01

6-7pm is fine for a 4 year old especially for a special dinner at friends. I used to be really strict about routine when they were 1 and 2 but I think by 4 you can have some flex!


DonkeyOaty · 17/07/2015 22:02

When mine were wee they had their tea about 5ish and I had supper with DH later. Now they're older we eat together.

Why not suggest you provide little one with a snackette and a DVD in next room whilst adults eat?


TheRealAmyLee · 17/07/2015 22:04

My 5yo would be fine with food at 6 but I would ask them if they think it will be too late if you are concerned about it.


paddyclampo · 17/07/2015 22:05

My kids are a bit older but wouldn't think twice about eating dinner at 7 or even 8 o'clock. Would probably give them something at 4ish to keep them going!


KindergartenKop · 17/07/2015 22:05

My son is 3 and eats at 4 30 and is in bed by 6. He doesn't nap at all and if he was expected to be hungry and well behaved I'd be concerned that there might be a tantrum. I'd suggest inviting them for lunch.


BuildYourOwnSnowman · 17/07/2015 22:06

We don't accept dinner invites with the kids as they both are in bed asleep by 8. Much prefer late lunch etc or leave kids with a babysitter and have an adult dinner!! I am a big believer in a good nights sleep for kid though!!

We eat 6-7 but on school nights they eat around 5 as they are starving by then and as we aren't home by then we prefer to eat once the kids are in bed.


EastMidsMummy · 17/07/2015 22:06

We never eat as early as 6, but if you invited us for 6, we would be delighted and eat lunch early or have a smaller lunch!


Seriouslyffs · 17/07/2015 22:07

Which friends said about him eating before? The friends who are coming or some other friends?
It might be more to do with bedtimes tbh. 6pm is normal for many children, but swiftly followed by bath and bed. Lunchtime is definitely more usual with families with toddlers.


hideandseekpig · 17/07/2015 22:07

My dd eats at 5 30 but if I was invited for dinner at 6 I would still go!! I'd just give her a snack or later lunch. We had dinner at friends at 7 tonight and i just gave dd a snack at 5.30 to keep her going and she went to bed later! I'm all for a routine but you need a bit of flexibility too


CultureSucksDownWords · 17/07/2015 22:08

You do need to ask them what they would want to do. If their DS has eaten before hand then what are you expecting the parents to do with him whilst you eat?

My DS could probably cope with a 6pm tea and staying up a little later on a Sat, but not all children would be ok with a change in routine.


bberry · 17/07/2015 22:12

No, it's not too late, it's perfectly reasonable

My 2 & 3YO's usually eat at 4.30/5 so I would give them a snack at about 4.30 (banana/raisins etc) to keep them going and not grumpy/hungry


Pico2 · 17/07/2015 22:21

My 4 yo seems to go to bed quite late compared to friends with lights out at 8pm. Bedtime starts at 7pm. Dinner is normally about 5pm. While she could wait until 6pm we'd have a hard job getting her in bed on time after that and she is horrible the next day if she stays up to late.

We don't go out as a family in the evening.


Artandco · 17/07/2015 22:27

That's fine. At home with two small children we rarely eat before 7.30pm, usually 8pm due to work schedule. We all eat together and have done since babies. Weekends we have lots of dinners at friends or ours and usually it's 8pm dinner. Ours sleep 9pm school night, but any time weekends. They have fallen asleep on many friends sofas when tired and adults carry on


Artandco · 17/07/2015 22:28

Ours are 4 and 5 years btw


MuffMuffTweetAndDave · 17/07/2015 22:33

6pm is very early for adults, but its true lots of kids would've eaten by then. However I would have thought at the weekend, it would be easier to be flexible. Some children need routine much more than others though.


DisappointedOne · 17/07/2015 22:57

We've always eaten at 8-9pm and DD always did too. We even took her out to restaurants. Shock

Now that she's 4 and in school she's in bed between 8 and 9pm and so dinner is at about 7pm most nights. We all eat together. (Except one evening a week when she has a swimming lesson and we eat out afterwards - so eat at around 6-6:30pm).


DisappointedOne · 17/07/2015 22:58

I'm sure
One of the reason British kids are apparently so unhappy is because they (mostly) get to eat alone and go to bed early. We much prefer the European/Mediterranean approach.


GiddyOnZackHunt · 17/07/2015 23:03

My DD would probably have been difficult but she has ASD which makes her like fixed routines. If the little boy is used to eating earlier they could have lunch a bit later and give him a mid afternoon sandwich to keep him going a bit longer. That'd work for my other dc.

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