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.
There are several things I believe.
- 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.
- 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.
- Sitting at the dinner table provides a place to have real conversations, no distractions.
- We have had great conversations about family life, manners, and many questions the kids are currently wondering.
- It has been a favorite place to tell knock-knock jokes.
- It has been a place to talk about prayer, God, and review and practice Bible verses.
- 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*
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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!
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