Do You Eat Meals Together As A Family?

United States
April 21, 2007 9:27pm CST
I remember Well, as a child that it was expected that when any meal was ready, everyone was to sit at the table. We had a large family and we all squashed so tightly on that small homemade dinner table. Nobody ever tasted any of the food until it was blesses. My father and my brothers always wore caps but they never wore them in the house or at the table. It just was not allowed. It was a matter of respect. We always shared stories and talked about our day as we sit at that table. The dinner table was a place to share and learn about out family. It brought us closer as a family because we got to know each other better. We were always a close knit family. If you picked on one of us, you had all of us to deal with. When I got married, my husband was not used to eating at table as a family but I really thought that it was important so he agreed. We raised out daughters to eat every meal at the dinner table as a family. The TV and radio was always turned off when it was meal time. There were no distractions. We turned off the bell on the telephone. Meal time was family time. Like it was in my parents household, it was a time to share and get to know each other. Like my parents, brothers, sister and me, we were a close knit family. Now our daughters are grown , married with a family of their own. My oldest daughter has two toddlers of her own and they have kept up with that tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation. The tradition of being at the dinner table together as a family. They are doing the same things that we did and the things that my husband and I taught them. They are sharing and becoming closer as a family. I have a lot of fond memories of meal times. I still think of it as a happy time. A time to share and show love and respect for those we love most in our lives, our family. I have gained strength from having meals as a family. I gained strength by knowing that I had the support of my family. I knew they would be there if I needed them. Now that it is just me and my husband at home, we still eat all meals at the dinner table together. I still enjoy the time to share and talk. I know that it strengthens our relationship just as it did when our children were at home. Today, I tell people one of the best ways to insure that your family will be close is to have all meals together as a family with no distractions. I believe this with all my heart. Do you have meals with your family at the dinner table? Do you have all distractions taken away while you eat? Do you think it brings families closer to have meals together? Please share you stories with me. I would love to know how other families have been brought closer together. My family is the most important thing to me. I want to be with them forever because I love them. How can all family members benefit from having meals together? Well, According to Parent Magazine, May 1999 “Family culture is created and values are established. Children develop a strong sense of belonging which reduces the chances of drug and alcohol abuse. That is a pretty strong statement and something that I think all parents want for their children. Repost from my post on Gather.
12 people like this
47 responses
@lightningMD (5931)
• United States
22 Apr 07
Yes,we eat the table together as a family. That was a realfight when I first met my husband. He had always sat on the couch and ate in front of the tv. He had instilled those same bad habits in his daughter. I bugged and bugged and now we sit and eat together. No tv,no radio,no phone calls,and we dont answer the door during dinner. I have also got them into the habits of reading a chapter from a book every night before bed together. Kids need routines I think.
4 people like this
• United States
22 Apr 07
I agree that kids do need routines. Do you find that eating together brings you closer as a family?
3 people like this
@AmbiePam (51627)
• United States
22 Apr 07
That's a great habit to encourage - reading a chapter from a book.
3 people like this
@GardenGerty (118191)
• United States
22 Apr 07
When we are both home, we eat together. In fact, if no one is home to eat with, often my husband will "forget" to eat. This makes it really hard with all of the different shifts that we work. I went through phases of being all together with whatever family was here, and not. We did not ever eat in front of the television. I do not like to answer the phone. It is hard to feel that you have had a meal, if you have not sat down and focused on the togetherness that is part of breaking bread together.
• United States
22 Apr 07
I dont eat when I am by myself either. So I know how your husband feels
2 people like this
@winterose (39895)
• Canada
22 Apr 07
No we don't, we did when my son was growing up but then as he grew older I had jobs that brought me home at weird hours. And now even though I am home my son normally makes his own meals and I make mine. He is a very picky eater.
4 people like this
• United States
22 Apr 07
My mother would not have had it any other way. We all sat at the table with the tv and radio off. She didn't want to hear no back talk about it either,and that included my dad. Even though it's just me and my dad at the dinner table,we still eat together. My brother is married with a daughter and stepson but they very rarely eat dinner together and I don't know why he got away from that family time. I think it's so important that families take time to be together even if for a little while
3 people like this
@AmbiePam (51627)
• United States
22 Apr 07
Up until I was 12, my parents, my sister and I, all ate at the table together. The TV was turned off, and we let the answering machine take any calls that came. It was around that time that my mom got really sick and I took over the cooking. My dad would bring home McDonald's one night a week, but the rest of the time it was just me. My sister tried to cook, she was two years older, but it was awful we wouldn't let her do it anymore. LOL So when my mom got sick and I began cooking we all ate around the TV in the living room. Mom could lay on the couch and still be with us at dinner time, so we were more than happy to change locations. Now that I'm older and I live alone, I don't even have a kitchen table! There just isn't room for it. But I know when I have children I would lik to have dinner at the table every night.
• United States
22 Apr 07
I am so sorry about your mother. I know how hard it is when you are too sick to cook. I just cant imagine not having a dinner table. I guess because I have so many memories that center around the dinner table.
2 people like this
@AmbiePam (51627)
• United States
24 Apr 07
Oh, I know! If I didn't live alone I would find it weird too. My parents try to eat at the dinner table now days. My mom has been in remission, so she likes to sit together and eat. You miss a lot when you don't take that time to bond with your family.
@jsae29 (1120)
• Philippines
22 Apr 07
This is such a nice post. I didn't know the value of eating together until now. Thank you so much. From now on, I will see to it that everybody sit down at the dinner table all at the same time.
• United States
22 Apr 07
Good luck with your family meal time bonding. I know it has bonded us closer as a family because we learned about each other in a way that was comfortable. Thanks for your comment.
1 person likes this
@Stiffler07 (1356)
• United States
22 Apr 07
No, we never really eat our meals together, however it's something that we maybe should start doing. I believe it's a great chance to play catch up, & discuss all the day acourences. I do believe it brings families closer. (Great Question)
• United States
22 Apr 07
occurrences
2 people like this
@Willowlady (10665)
• United States
22 Apr 07
We do eat together, however, we do not have a dining table. We pull upn a piece of floor, sit in the recliner and sit at the computer. We are together in this small trailer. We also eat out together at the restaurant and at the parents homes or picnicing. We cook together and vote on what to have for dinner and sometimes the kids will cooks. A family deal that has helped us whether our storm and keep us together. We still have the television on and can talk since there is nothing on there that takes any real concentration.
2 people like this
• United States
22 Apr 07
I hated living in a trailor. We lived in a 10X50 trailer for 20 years. There was me, my husband and both our daughtes. Talk about cramped. It was hard.
1 person likes this
@ironstruck (2299)
• Canada
22 Apr 07
I live alone now, but when I was married and had little kids we always ate together as a family.\ Actually, that is a big part of being a family....sharing mealtimes together..
2 people like this
• United States
22 Apr 07
I have to say that we always eat dinner as a family, and talk about each of our days. But, we don't always eat around the table. We usually sit in the living room with our tray tables and talk or sit and watch the news and discuss the goings on in the world. Most times it is not just us that are eating at my home, we have neice and nephew stragglers that are trying to make it on their own and don't seem to be doing well with it, they wander in to have a meal and that is ok with us. I would rather they come and interrupt our dinner and get a good meal, and maybe the only meal they have for that day in their stomach. I think this is also teaching my son a good lesson to help those who are less fortunate than he is. My family growing up was the same way, so I guess I came by it naturally.
2 people like this
• United States
22 Apr 07
Yes, me and the kids do eat together at the table for dinner. When my husband is home, he is there with us. Most times we have no distractions like the TV, but sometimes I will turn on some music. We also will watch a show together every once in a while as we eat and talk about the day...depends on how crazy our day has been. :) But, yes, we sit and talk about my son's day at school, who did what to who, who got in trouble, etc. My kids are still little so we don't get into any "deep" conversations, but we will do things like go over ABCs and count our peas and things like that. I find it a very important part of our day. The only time we skip this tradition is on the days where we have ball practice or games and we are eating on the run in a hurry or whatever and we don't have time for the traditional sit down dinner. On the weekends, we even eat lunch together at the table.
2 people like this
@Perry2007 (2229)
• Philippines
1 May 07
this is a great story to share. In my hometown There is what we call the canao, it is after all a sort of getting all relative and townmate to dine together, a chance to enjoy each others company and to know each other more. The same as when you have your meal together as a family. More than the ritual and reason for a canao to be called for is the getting together and gathering to chat, and have the time and venue to meet as social members of the family, and community. There is what we call "wat-wat" a piece of meat slice given to all who attended as a share of blessing from the celebrant, that is given away aside from the meal they already served. I Believe this Family practice of eating meals together is a good one to proliferate and a good inheritance.
1 person likes this
• United States
1 May 07
Wow! That sounds like a wonderful way to get to know your neighbors and community. How is canao pronouced. . Can a o That is just so cool. I bet it would really keep the people closer together. Thanks for sharing this with me.
@mtdewgurl74 (18116)
• United States
1 May 07
When I was living at home before I got married, yes we did eat at the dinner table and did same th ing you did. But my husband didn't eat at a table growing up his mother had 12 kids and her and her husband so it was them and the littlest that ate at the table mostly. I eat at the table and I eat at the computer.(Which is a no-no when I am dieting). It is a rare occasional fo rmy hubby to eat at the table. We eat at differnet times mostly. If I had children though I would ask him as you did to eat at the table. No we don't turn the distractions off, I know we should though. You have made me miss the times of my youth and the closeness I had with my family. Now days my parents don't eat together or at a table times have changed alot since my youth and my mom no longer cooks like she used to either, it's mostly fast and easy stuff the easier the better. And I have noticed they aren't as healthy and health consious as they used to be, when in fact with their age they should be.One thing I do believe in is that parents shouldn't bring up "issues" they have with their kids at the table, it causes to many problems and disfunctional families. But alot of parentd sometimes do because that is the only chance to talk to their kids. That is why I think they should have Sunday night family meetings and games. That way everyone can get things cleared up or aired out.
1 person likes this
• United States
1 May 07
Our daughters are both married and moved away now but when they were at home, we had "Family Home Evening" every monday night. That was family night. We did not schedule any other activity on that night. There was no sleep overs or extra curricular activities allowed on mondays. It was wonderful because on Sunday we go Spiritually fed and on Monday we spent as a family. My husband and I also have a date each week. Our church suggests friday night as date nignt but my husband works night shift so this does not work for us. We try to pick a day before he goes to work and just spend time together, hiking, swinging on the front porch just taking...whatever. We do not always spend money on this date but sometimes we will go out to dinner together and talk while on this date. It is just a time to reinforce our commitment to each other and to stay in touch with each others lives as a married couple. Thanks for your comment. I enjoyed reading it very much
@imadriscoll (2230)
• United States
24 Apr 07
Our family is very busy and I'm sure this is just the beginning as my children are yet very young. We are very active in our church which means that on a few nights of the week we are rushed during dinner. But, we still sit together as a family as often as possible. It's actually my favorite part of the day to catch up on my husband's day at work as well as tell him about all of the funny things that the kids have done during the day. Without this time I feel a little lost. We also all participate in cleaning up afterwards! My daughters are 2 and almost 4, they are responsible for putting their plates, cups and silverware on the counter by the sink and throwing their napkins away. The four year old is learning to rinse dishes and put them in the drainer. The two year old holds the dust pan when we sweep. Our son is responsible for staying out of the way! :) He's only one, but he will help when the time comes. My husband and I both wash dishes and clean off the table. It's a family event!
1 person likes this
• United States
28 Apr 07
It is hard to keep up with everything, isnt it? I remember when my kids used to hold the dust pan for me. You are binging back some wonderful memories for me. My daughters are raised now and married.
@14missy (3185)
• Australia
23 Apr 07
I agree with you that families have a special bond when they eat together. We mostly have dinner together at the table although sometimes the TV room is gathered in. My kids actually like to say grace first before the meal even though I don't ask them to do it. Then we take turns in asking each other something that happened in their day. It is a nice time.
1 person likes this
• United States
23 Apr 07
That is wonderful. My little three year old granddaugher just loves to ask the blessing. LOL I am glad your children enjoy it. I love the idea of taking turns asking questions. A job well done.
• Philippines
30 Apr 07
we eat together with my family, specially every saturday and sunday coz my dad is at home!
1 person likes this
@healwell (1268)
• Ahmedabad, India
23 Apr 07
Yes, naturally every day lunch and holiday meals we eat together as a family because it helps to promote one's own self to be sure about a family and family life!
@kitkat1 (1227)
• Canada
23 Apr 07
We have supper together during weekdays. I find it is our chance to unwind and tell each about our day at work or school. On the weekends we each all meals together and eat big breakfasts. To me it is family quality time that everyone should practice it brings a family closer together.
1 person likes this
• United States
23 Apr 07
We don't have chairs for our kitchen table. Not that our table would be big enough for 6 people (it only seats 4). We eat in the living room. The girls (6 and 4) sit at their kiddie table. There are only 2 chairs so our 5 year old son sits on the floor using a little tray. The baby has her little chair and me and my husband sit on the couch (if he is home, he works nights now and is only home for dinner 2 nights a week). We watch TV while we eat. That is just how we do things. Family meals never worked in my family as a kid. They always ended in someone crying or everyone mad so we don't do them. Well, I mean, we all eat together in the same room but we are watching TV. We talk during the commercials. But we are together all day long. There is nothing new to discuss. My oldest tells us about her day when she gets home. If the TV wasn't on we would just sit there in silence because there is just nothing else to talk about.
1 person likes this
• United States
22 Apr 07
There's much to be said about eating together as a family. And, at one time in our past, we were expected to do so. I can remember growing up, too, when mother cooked a meal and placed it on the table we all sat down to a well-balanced, delicious homecooked meal. But, as wonderful as the concept it, we just don't seem to have that time anymore, sadly enough. My husband works long hours, I work different hours, my college daughter is in and out on her own schedule. So, what can anyone do when society steps into the family unit and dictates who must be where and when. We often spend more time cultivating our employment family than our own family, unfortunately. But, then again, if we did not, we would not have food on the table to come to anyway.
1 person likes this