Eating as a family is not always easy in our house. Now that our children are older, we try to have our meals seated at the table. We don’t always get it right because our lives are so busy and sometimes our schedules won’t allow it, but we do our best.
Why do we strive to eat at the table? Read the following 5 reasons and let us know if you agree, or disagree, or if you would add anything?
Teaching our children how to set a table creates an awareness of etiquette which I believe is a fundamental learning point. It gives our children a sense of pride in setting things ‘right’ and incorporates working as a team with their siblings (hopefully without breaking anything in the process). It also creates a conversation between us and our children about how we should behave when preparing for a meal, or for receiving guests.
When we are seated around the table it affords me the opportunity to see and teach manners that I feel my children should know. Eating with your mouth closed, Chew slowly and swallow before you speak. How to hold your cutlery. Ask to be excused, and to thank the person that made the meal. Too many children today “forget” to say please and thank you…
Our days are so busy during the week that dinner is often the only time we get to sit down as a family and talk to each other about our days. It gives us the opportunity to listen carefully as our children babble away, and we are then able to pick up on how their day really went. Sometimes they say things to their siblings that they wouldn’t necessarily say to us. Or they might just open up because dinner is a “safe place”. The dinner table also allows our children to see that mom and dad can have a conversation about the day’s events. They can listen to what we speak about and ask questions. Altogether allowing for a great conversation to happen.
In today’s day and age too many children have everything done for them.. (Yes I said it) Giving children chores and responsibilities, expecting them to be ready for family times like dinner, etc makes then more conscientious. Now don’t get me wrong… I’m not advocating a drill-sergeant like slave-driving of our children, but I am saying that I want my children to become responsible and aware of what might reasonably be expected of them.
It is a sad indictment on parents all over the world that children tend to be blissfully unaware of just how blessed they are to have a full plate of food… Hunger is a real and desperate problem, food security is a global crisis. Not only in impoverished communities but maybe right next door. There is every possibility that even our neighbours are battling to put food on the table. Too many children go to bed hungry at night. Wastage is cannot an option. I don’t want to put fear into my children, but I do want them to know that their father works hard to provide for his family and being grateful for that creates awareness, and empathy, for those that do not have. Which, in turn, creates a conversation about communities that do not have and what we as families can do to aid them.
So those are my 5 reasons why we like to have dinner together as a family. Each family is different, I would love for you to add to this list. How do you and your family enjoy a family dinner?