A Family That Dines Together... and Sitting Among Friends Blog Party #32

Having a sit-down family dinner may seem a little “old-fashioned” in today’s “fast-paced” over-scheduled society. Are they just a thing of the past or are they vital to the family structure?

Growing up we had family dinner every night. We sat down at the table, with no TV and not plugged into anything. No toys, no distractions. Just dinner on the table and conversations swirling about.

It is something I valued so with our family we have dinner every night together. While it may seem a bit hectic or chaotic at times (okay, most nights), I feel it is necessary for our family to preserve this time. In fact, since the kids are little and I stay at home, most meals are done together.

We, too, don’t allow for the TV to be on or toys to be at the table. We feel it is a time to eat and have conversations.   

My kids are small but when my second son was born we got a seat so that he could be right at the table with us from the time we brought him home. I loved this chair. The bucket on it slid back, opposed to just laying back, so he could sleep or do whatever newborns do. In my head, we were forming the foundations for family time at the dinner table.

If you are wondering, our first child we sometimes feed him in the kitchen and not at the table because our dining room is carpeted. I know after the first time around you get a little less, high strung and a little more realistic, might I say.

I am sure that we have all heard about statistics and benefits of sitting around a family table and enjoying a meal together, but I wanted to know if there were real statistics.

I consulted the ever reliable google search engine and found several pieces of information I found interesting.

According to a 2003 Gallup Poll, 28% of children under the age of 18 say they eat dinner at home 7 days a week and 47% say they eat at home 4-6 days a week.   The report also cited the information below.

“A 2003 study by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University suggests that family dinners can have some concrete benefits for teenagers. The study found that teens who have dinner with their families two nights a week or less are twice as likely to take drugs, more likely to be "high stress," more likely to say they are often bored, and less likely to perform well in school than teens who eat with their families 5 to 7 times a week.

Secondly, a report from Cornell University’s Department of Human Ecology stated that it was hard to isolate the effects of family meals because of other factors that may be present in families.

That seems realistic considering the dynamics of every family is so different.

There were two things that I took away from this article.

First, Tip #2, Remember the benefits of regular family mealtime.  Even though they may be hectic or chaotic, they may be providing a stability and consistency that your child needs.

Next was this statement.
Family dinners may be part and parcel of a broader package of practices, routines, and rituals that reflect parenting beliefs and priorities. Interventions aimed at increasing the frequency of family meals may be successful only if they can change the family habits that tend to go along with eating as a family (Musick & Meyer, forthcoming, p. 28).

I found both of these reports interesting. While, I don’t find all statics definable or always useful.  
There are several things I believe.

  1.        God will bind our family. He will make our kids grow in Him. It is our job to plant the seeds and a good place to plant many is around the family dinner table.
  2.        Kids need stability and consistency. What my children see is that no matter how hard it may be to sit and eat together, we are just that, together.
  3.       Sitting at the dinner table provides a place to have real conversations, no distractions.
  4.        We have had great conversations about family life, manners, and many questions the kids are currently wondering.
  5.        It has been a favorite place to tell knock-knock jokes.
  6.     It has been a place to talk about prayer, God, and review and practice Bible verses.
  7.     It is more cost effective and we can provide healthy meals at home that we prepare. 

This week, I have included a video from our remodeled kitchen we have been working on. Another thing we have been doing together, over the past month. It is a mini refrigerator, stove, and sink for our playhouse.

A couple of things before you go

Let me know, in the comments, how your family dines. Do you still have small children in the house? What do you do to meet around the family table? If your kids have grown, what is your favorite memory or what advice can you give us about families dining together? 

I had the awesome privilege to have guest blogger, Sue Donaldson, from Welcome Heart blog this week. She talks about the heart of hospitality. It is a beautiful story. There are 3 bonuses: a giveaway opportunity, a recipe, and an invitation to her new Facebook Group Welcome Heart Party. You can find that post here: A Welcome Heart

*New To Sitting Among Friends* 
I am glad to call you, friend! Here is a badge you are welcome to post on your site!

I am going to be sharing a Featured Friend, weekly! I love that so many of you come and share with us every week and I would love to highlight your work! The friend that I have chosen this week is... Marva from sunSPARKLEshine.
This past week, Marva is celebrating her 1 year blogiversary! Stop by and enjoy a copy of her e-book! I love to visit Marva's blog because I feel ready to shine for Jesus the minute I step in the door, or on her home page. Thank you so much Marva for the inspiration! I am glad you are here, friend!

While you're here, sit down with some of my friends.

WOW! I know Summer is busy so I thank you all for coming here and for the 96 Amazing posts. This party has been wonderful and it is thanks to you, friends, who link-up with us and those who stop by and read and SHARE! Thank you!

You all are amazing writers who share DIY's, Recipes, Photos, Giveaways, Homeschool and Family and Faith. Many of you have amazing journeys of faith and I praise the Lord we are able to connect here! 

Friends are here to encourage and challenge us in our walk of life, so enjoy!

There are easy share buttons to your left or at the bottom of each post (mobile) and after you link-up. Thanks for sharing! 

Thanks! From all of us at  #SittingAmongFriends

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  1. One of my favourite Grandma's advice is always eat together ๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ˜„of course we do...well he is unavailable now...but we always do and talk too! He likes to feed our daughter especially with our local African dishes.

    Yes I agree with all your points it is a time for families to bond.
    Blessings to you

  2. Meal time is still a priority around here -- but it's become more challenging as the boys grow up. Sometimes we have to adjust the time to get everyone around the table . . . so worth it!

  3. Love the play kitchen! The backsplash is awesome!! We always made family dinner a priority and I love that our children are doing the same in their own homes. There are so many great conversations over the dinner table. Great post, Jaime!

  4. I was raised in a family that had family dinners each evening and my husband and I carried that tradition and important practice into our own family, Jaime. I think it was often the only time we would stop to really share about our days with each other. It's so vital to keeping the family connected and I'm glad your talking about it today, my friend! You go, girl! You're making a huge difference!

  5. We are in a "easy" season in some ways for eating meals together. With a three and eight year old, we aren't balancing so many outside activities. It is an important part of our life!

  6. Great post Jaime! Meals are still a priority in our home, though I will tell you it gets harder the older they get because they are always gone! lol I have one son that just graduated and the other son is a sophmore. This post is so relevant because if I could say one of the things that bonded us together and kept us close as a family, prioritizing meals together would be at the top of the list. Thanks for writing this and giving us all the reminder of how important this really is as a family!!!

  7. I love sitting around a table breaking bread with loved ones. One of my favorite things. I'm visiting from Beth's but linked up with you as well!!!

  8. YES! WE grew up having family dinner every night unless we working (high school). I look back now and really appreciate that my parents took the time to do it. NOw with 2 littles of our own, we make it a priority. Hubby didn't grow up with family mealtime and really wished he had. Great post!

  9. Hi Jaime, firstly thanks so much for choosing me as your featured friend this week! You have such an amazing heart to encourage others and you did just that!
    As for family meals, some months ago I wrote about a little dinner routine we started to spark conversation around the table. We each take turns talking about our highlights, lowlights (the things that didn't go so well) and our 'sparklelights' (some way that we helped or served someone else). It's always fun when we do it and now our kids try to one-up each other which sparks other conversations too. Reading this today reminded me of the importance of making family dinner a priority and to be sure that it happens regularly.
    And by the way, I've been enjoying your videos and seeing what new and fun projects you've been up to. This kitchen set was just so adorable. Well done!
    Marva | sunSPARKLEshine

  10. meals together are the best except when my kids push each others' buttons or I burn the chicken or no one talks or... nothing perfect about my meal times - but still, they are worth it all. and my kids have learned that. bless you!

  11. Yes, we always tried to eat supper together. It is a great time to talk about everyone's day, etc. It is harder when they are in high school and working, but we usually waited to eat together if they had sports or after school activities. Thanks so much for hosting each week!

  12. I may be heathen (according to many) but if my kids are with (even though they are adults) everything goes off and we will eat together if at home. I don't care with it is breakfast or dinner, I just feel that little time is so precious because it gives us time to connect.

  13. Great post, Jaime! Like you, I too believe that time with family is incredibly important. I enjoyed visiting with you this morning. Thanks so much for sharing and for hosting as well! GOD bless you, beautiful friend! :-)

  14. Thank you for hosting each week Jaime!! Have a wonderful week!

  15. Boy Jaime... you and my parents felt the same way about eating together. Probably the only time we did not eat together is when I got home late from practice. I wish that I had been more cooperative as a youngster at the table. Now that I'm older I love time spent at the dinner table with my family . The conversations are encouraging, enlightening, and, revealing. We love getting together for ANY occasion! Thank you for sharing the importance of time spent together as a family. It is so important for each family member. I hope you have a wonderful week! Blessings to you and yours!

  16. Growing up we always had suppers together, but other meals not so much since my dad had to leave early for work. When my kids were little we had most meals together, though my husband only joined us at supper since he was at work. We had many discussions around the supper table. When my kids with their kids come to visit, we still try to have as many meals as possible together. It really is a special time and I think gives stability in this fast paced world. Thanks for sharing at the #LMMLinkup.

  17. What a perfect hope filled place for me to stop! 3 treasured bloggy friends all in the same place! Thank you, Jaime, for hosting Sue and featuring Marva!!! Love you three ladies!!

    We have dinner together, but it's at different hours and often around a restaurant table!

    Thanks so much of sharing hope alongside me at #MomentsofHope!

  18. My kids are now in their mid 20's and gone from the home. But we always ate dinner as a family. We never got on the path of doing a bunch of sports, mainly because I wasn't going to allow sports to intrude on the family dinner hour. One of the things I often did was have themed dinners. I would do them every other week or so, sometimes only once a month. We would do color themes, in which all the foods were of the same color. Country themes, wherein we would focus on a certain country and try to have something from that country (naturally, Italy and Mexico were the easiest). We would print out a flag from that country for placemats and then during dinner read little facts about that country (from a geography game). Also, we would do baseball theme dinners (hotdogs, cracker jack, popcorn) and watch a baseball game on TV. Sundays we would occasionally have sundaes for supper---we called it Sunday Sundae. We also did something called Silly Supper, wherein you have to solve riddles to determine what you will be eating.

    Anyhow, the subject of families eating together is something I am passionate about. I hope to blog about my theme dinners in the near future.

    Patti @ Embracing Home


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