Recently I read a stat that made me a bit sad: Eating meals at the dinner table is on the decline.
It honestly makes so much sense. Who has time to eat at the table anymore?
We’re rushing home from work, to get our kids out the door for practice or a game or a dance recital.
So where (and when) do people eat?
At half-time at the game on the sidelines
In the stands
On the bus
According to the report, many people eat on the couch in front of the TV or in their bedrooms. This is the case even when everyone from the family is home.
Let’s bring back eating at the dinner table if only once a week.
First, why is eating at the table so important?
- It brings everyone together in one spot, at one time.
- It forces people to sit down to eat which helps with proper digestion.
- It creates a family hub for everyone to sit and talk about their day and have meaningful conversations.
- It gets family members to try new foods because they see others trying them.
- It provides consistency to our schedules.
- It gives us something to look forward to.
Ok so sitting at the table isn’t all fun and games. If you have young kids you know what I mean.
Kids are up and down. They can’t sit still. They have to go to the bathroom. They hate the food you made. They take forever to eat (like forever).
But when we sit at the table as a family from a young age we’re helping kids to build a base for communicating with others as they get older.
Perhaps sitting at the table from a young age will make it easier for our kids to approach us with a problem they have when they’re teens.
But how do we eat together when we don’t have any time to eat together?
Number 1: Look at all the things you’re doing and decide if they are in fact necessary to do.
Can you get rid of an activity or change the time of an activity so that you can sit down to have a meal together as a family even if it’s just once a week?
This goes for freeing up time in general. Overall we are doing way too much. We can’t do everything. I’m a big fan of the saying: ‘If it’s not a hell yes, then it’s a hell no.’
Something has to give. I don’t want you to give up the wellness of you and your family over other things that may not really be a priority.
If you are home, make a habit to eat your meals at a table. Not the couch, and not the bedroom. Even if the kids are eating together at a table it’s a step forward.
If you can’t be home for meals during the week, try to eat together somewhere else. Can you have a picnic together on a blanket at the park after the game?
Bring back the Sunday (or Saturday) Night Dinner: If you can’t eat together during the week, pick one day on the weekend when you can sit together as a family.
It doesn’t have to be a fancy dinner, but make it something you can make and eat together.
Finally, please I beg you, please turn off the technology during dinner. Put your phones away. Get the computers off the table. Turn off the TV.
Make dinner (or lunch or breakfast!) time a sacred time for you and your family.