by Patty Gardner, Homemakers Daily
Most families these days struggle to find time to eat dinner, let alone eat dinner together!
Schedules are ridiculously busy and mealtime is often the first thing to go. Dinner ends up being a fast food meal in the car on your way to the next activity.
My family was lucky in that we were able to eat dinner together most nights. I was a stay-at-home-mom and homeschooled my kids. The kids weren’t involved in a lot of outside activities, and what they were involved in usually took place during the day. My husband worked days and was home for dinner every night.
Mealtime for us was the highlight of the day. My husband was home and we all sat together at the table, ate a good meal, and talked about our day. We did most of our laughing and talking at the dinner table. Lots of laughing. I have great memories of those times and so do my kids.
Things are different now. The kids are grown and gone and it’s just my husband and me. But we still sit at the dining room table and eat dinner together most nights. I’ll admit that we do occasionally watch tv while we eat but most of the time we’re at the table. It’s a great opportunity to enjoy quiet and have each other’s undivided attention.
So is family dinner a thing of the past? With so many activities and such full schedules, is it no longer possible? Maybe it can’t be done every night, but I’m not ready to give up on it. If you don’t want to give up either, here are some ways to still have family dinner:
1. This sounds heartless, but don’t cancel family dinner just because some of your family members aren’t there. Schedule dinner and eat with whoever is home. It’s tempting to pass on dinner at the table if part of the family is absent but don’t do it. Who knows, sitting at the table with even as few as two of you may result in some awesome conversation you wouldn’t have had if you’d gone your separate ways.
2. Take advantage of the opportunities you have. If everyone’s home but you don’t have a meal planned, don’t plate and scatter. Have everyone make their food and bring it to the table. Make sitting at the table the place to be!
3. If you do end up eating in front of the tv, like during a football game or the Olympics, try to make it special. For example, if you have a coffee table, put a table cloth on it and sit around the coffee table. Or move the table and spread out a blanket and have a picnic. Or have special trays you use when eating in the living room. Just do something to make it more than just sitting in front of the tv eating your food.
4. If you’re out and about, don’t always rely on the drive-thru for your dinner. Invest in a picnic set and bring food from home. Stop at a park and eat dinner. Or take homemade food to a sports practice and eat on paper plates in the bleachers. Even though it’s not dinner at the table, it’s still special and you’re together!
5. This is drastic, but perhaps your schedules can be rearranged so that you have at least a couple of nights at home. This isn’t always possible, but if it is, it’s worth doing.
It makes me sad to think that family dinners are a thing of the past. But maybe they don’t have to be. Let’s all do our part and bring them back, at least some of the time!
Does your family eat dinner together? How do you make it happen?
Be sure and visit Patty over at Homemakers Daily. She always has an endless supply of practical tips for making home life less stressful and more satisfying!