Author Topic: Family Dinner Hour  (Read 3891 times)

calimom

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Family Dinner Hour
« on: May 01, 2018, 09:26:08 PM »
Yesterday afternoon, my son had a friend over. They were working on a movie they're involve in for a class project and then played ping pong in the garage for an hour or so. My son asked if his friend could stay for dinner, they were having fun so of course I said yes. Room for one more right? The menu was not elaborate, turkey/quinoa meatloaf, green beans and ginger carrots. Because, teenaged boys, I warmed up the mac and cheese from the previous night. All good.

The friend (between bites, he was happy) asked 'do you guys do this every night?' Meaning, make food, sit down and eat it and it while talking about the events of the day. No media, just us at the table. We've always done this. Apparently at his house, they mostly get takeout or one or the other of the parents cooks or grills something and leaves it out for whoever to eat. Most seem to grab food and head to a TV or computer.

Not to be self righteous or anything like that, but does that seem like the normal American way? Is cooking some reasonable healthy food and everyone in the household sitting down to eat out of the mainstream? I'm guessing people on this site have meal plans and healthy interactions with their families are pretty common.

Tuskalusa

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Re: Family Dinner Hour
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2018, 10:35:01 PM »
We make dinner and eat together each night. Some nights we might make dinner and then eat it in front of a show together (we’re currently addicted to “Lost in Space”).  But we’re together.

If our son has a friend over, we usually sit at the table together. (Unless the Friend happens to be addicted to “Lost in Space” too...).

But we do have the luxury of jobs with predictable hours, which helps.

englishteacheralex

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Re: Family Dinner Hour
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2018, 11:12:51 PM »
Two toddlers and two adults with predictable and regular work schedules. We eat dinner together as a family every single night. It's awesome and I hope it lasts forever. I'm posting because I want to know what happens as the kids get older.

dragoncar

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Re: Family Dinner Hour
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2018, 12:11:37 AM »
does that seem like the normal American way?

yes

Quote
Is cooking some reasonable healthy food and everyone in the household sitting down to eat out of the mainstream?



FWIW, I hope to do what you do, but these days it's a luxury when two working parents is common

dragoncar

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Re: Family Dinner Hour
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2018, 12:12:52 AM »
what happens as the kids get older.

They won't want to.  You'll have to convince them

mxt0133

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Re: Family Dinner Hour
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2018, 01:29:48 AM »
I think most those buy into the Leave it to Beaver scenes where the whole family is having dinner together and actually enjoy each others company.  I'm sure a lot of people do eat together at a set time and with the whole family, but there are also a lot of families that don't eat together because they have varying shift work or no one around to cook.  Growing up my dad was hardly home for dinner because he worked late or was always traveling, then when we migrated to the US it was just me, my mother and brother.  My mom had to work two jobs so most nights it was just me and my brother eating leftovers when she did have the time to cook but most of the time is was frozen dinners and other processed food.  This was also the case with most of my friends growing up who were mostly in the lower rungs of the socioeconomic ladder like we were. By the time we were in high school and college it was rare for all of us to be in the house at the same time so eating together was mostly for special events like birthdays.  This was the same with my wife as she was growing up. She had six siblings and parents working 2-3 jobs, so the parents/older kids would batch cook every few days and just leave it on the table until it was gone and repeat.  But most of the time it was just take out.

I had hoped to have the picture perfect dinners with my family every night.  My wife cooks and I am home for dinner every night, however my kids don't really sit down to eat for too long and I just end up yelling at them to stay sitting until they are finished.  Because I don't want to keep yelling at my kids I mostly just don't eat with them and eat on my own schedule.

CupcakeGuru

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Re: Family Dinner Hour
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2018, 03:42:52 AM »
We try to do it a couple of times a week. But it isn't easy, between working late and kids activities. My kids (12 & 14) have mentioned that only a couple of their friends families do this and it is mostly take out or everyone gets their food and goes somewhere else to eat.

ontheway2

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Re: Family Dinner Hour
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2018, 07:20:22 AM »
We eat dinner together pretty much every night. I won't say every, but the exceptions are rare throughout the year (sickness, fend for yourself night, etc). With evening activities, dinner is sometimes rushed, or I might have the kids sit down a few minutes before me while I finish something to make sure we can leave on time, but we never go our separate ways with plates. My almost 13 year old has never pushed back on this since it has never appeared to be optional

Sibley

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Re: Family Dinner Hour
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2018, 07:51:17 AM »
Having the OPTION to have a family meal every night is very much a privilege, and one that I doubt the majority of American families currently have. If you have the option to do it, that doesn't mean that you actually do.

The "ideal" of a family sitting together is one that is used to belittle the people who do not have the option to do so. So be very careful of judging people - the US is not family friendly for most.

charis

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Re: Family Dinner Hour
« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2018, 08:10:08 AM »
I don't think it is out of the mainstream to eat as a family, at all.  Most friends, family, and neighbors I know do it when possible.  I'm not sure how you can take one kid's experience and generalize about the entire "American way."  We have a couple of week nights when someone is at an activity during dinner time, but we all eat together for most meals.

20957

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Re: Family Dinner Hour
« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2018, 08:20:34 AM »
It's what my family did growing up, and what my family does now.  Occasional exceptions, of course, but when we don't all sit together at the dining table the kids seem to eat even less than they already do, and I hate snacking, so I want them to eat at mealtimes. Having a dining room was a priority for me when house shopping, but they seem less and less common. 

NoStacheOhio

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Re: Family Dinner Hour
« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2018, 09:07:33 AM »
Dinner together is pretty much our routine, but we only have one kid who hasn't started school yet (he's 5, starts K in the fall). We've avoided committing to weeknight activities partially for this reason, but it's something I'm a little worried about as he gets older.

Still, it can be tough some nights with two working parents. Creative solutions are good though too--my wife is working late tomorrow, hitching a ride home with a friend (we carpool), and we're all meeting up for pizza night, which should be fun.

FireHiker

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Re: Family Dinner Hour
« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2018, 09:31:23 AM »
We try, but it's hard. Our kids are 6, 8, and 17 and my husband and I both work full time. For the younger kids we have soccer 6-7 on Monday and Thursday and Scouts once a month on a Tuesday 6-7. The teenager drives and does his own thing a LOT between sports, clubs, studying for AP tests, hanging at his girlfriend's house for dinner. He probably only eats with us once or twice a week, sometimes with his girlfriend along which is totally fine. On soccer nights we cram something quick into everybody; it's definitely not a leisurely family meal, but we've tried to stop eating out on the way (did that just once this season).

When my oldest did baseball years ago it was awful; we'd have a game at 4pm, scramble to leave work in time to get him there, and get home around bedtime. Sports are the worst. We have good friends who are very active in the club soccer scene; oldest got full ride college and younger probably will too; their dad played pro. I don't think they ever cook at home. They are always grabbing something on the way to practice, game, meeting (they run the local rec league as well).

What I've done to try and make it a reality is plan ahead as much as possible. I've also cut ALL of my evening activities out of the house as much as possible (my husband is a homebody, so he didn't have anything to cut...). I exercise in the morning before work or at lunch. My husband does most of the cooking but I do the planning and other chores/help with homework while he cooks. Our meals are not always fancy or from scratch; we probably rely a little to heavily on easy stuff from Costco and Trader Joes, but it's still better than eating out.

We did not have family meals very often growing up after I reached a certain age and my mom worked (I think 4th grade on). My dad was in sales and often on travel or working late, and my mom worked for a non-profit with long hours. We had a lot of convenience food we could throw together ourselves. Plus my parents hated each other so it would have been miserable anyway; they did eventually divorce, a good decade after they should have. We are extremely thankful for the privilege that we have that enables us to have family dinner together most nights. Our 2 mile commute really helps to make it possible; I don't know how people do it who commute an hour each way!

Carrie

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Re: Family Dinner Hour
« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2018, 09:34:52 AM »
It's a priority for us so we've just made it what we do. We don't schedule evening things and we plan meals with our work load for that particular day in mind. We are extremely privileged that work is flexible, that I'm a sahm, that we're good cooks, and that our kids haven't experienced anything else. We value this time, but I realize that it isn't necessarily a priority or a possibility for others.  I think it's a sweet time and I love the conversations. I won't give up this time as the kids get older without a fight.

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: Family Dinner Hour
« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2018, 12:26:04 PM »
We have a full family dinner at least one night a week (usually Thursday).

Three days a week, it's some combination of 1 parent (usually me) and one or more kids eating together at the table.  Generally the other parent is at an activity (he has a few night classes; I go to the gym one or two nights a week), and some nights one of the kids has an activity that they got dropped off for.

Weekends tend to be a free-for-all.

I expect to have more full family dinners starting this summer, when school and sports are done.  When we don't manage a family meal, we do still have family Q&A time.  The kids are expected to tell me the third and fourth best things that happened that day (1 & 2 are always lunch and recess so those answers are permanently disqualified) and the two worst things that happened that day, and we talk about any homework and tests they have.  Sometimes family talk time happens as I'm putting them to bed, but it does happen.  They need to know I'm interested in them.

tthree

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Re: Family Dinner Hour
« Reply #15 on: May 02, 2018, 02:44:18 PM »
Weighing in from Canada.  I cook supper and sit down to eat with the kids every night at the table (electronics free). 

However, DH works late (sales).  If he isn't home by 6:30pm, I call.  If he's on his way, we'll wait for him and eat as a family, and if he's still tied up a work we eat without him.  End result: we eat together about 20% of the time.

Given the diversity of work hours I think having all family members available to sit down and eat together EVERY night is a luxury.

Hula Hoop

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Re: Family Dinner Hour
« Reply #16 on: May 02, 2018, 03:02:04 PM »
Here in Italy, most people (including us) sit down and eat together as a family most nights.  But people eat late.  8.30 would be a normal dinner time here and kids go to bed maybe  at 10 pr 10.30.  We're "weird" in that we eat really "early" and our kids go to bed early.  We usually eat at around 7.30 or 8 and kids go to bed at 8.30 (6 year old) and 9.30 (9 year old).  Many of our friends thing we are crazy eating so early and putting our kids to bed so early.

That said, my husband works odd hours often in the evenings so sometimes family dinner is just the 2 kids plus me.  I can't imagine just putting a big pot of food on the table and telling the kids to help themselves and then eat while staring at a screen 

Our kids do a lot of activities but they are mostly after school so they are home by dinner time at 7.30 or 8.

MayDay

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Re: Family Dinner Hour
« Reply #17 on: May 02, 2018, 07:52:49 PM »
We do, every night. No devices.

I have friends who make other things work. Certain days,or doing breakfast instead of dinner, etc.

I look at it as something to do if everyone is home (no departing to different parts of the house to eat while on devices) but not something to stress about.

kimmarg

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Re: Family Dinner Hour
« Reply #18 on: May 02, 2018, 08:29:18 PM »
It's just 2 adults and a toddler here but we try to eat together as often as we can. I work shift so I miss sometimes due to that. Plus occasionally my spouse has to stay late at his job, in that case either I feed the toddler and we eat dinner together later or I eat with toddler and spouse fends for themselves.  I'm guessing we make it work about 4 nights a week.

TVRodriguez

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Re: Family Dinner Hour
« Reply #19 on: May 02, 2018, 08:49:04 PM »
We have dinner together most evenings at the kitchen table with no electronics. Sometimes cooked, sometimes leftovers, sometimes from a can or pizza delivery.

I have breakfast with the kids every morning at the kitchen table, no electronics.

I feel fortunate that I have been able to design my life to allow me to make these family meals happen. It's how DH and I both grew up. He is fully on board and cooks often.

I met a kid in high school who was bragging about how many activities he was in and how he almost never had dinner with his family. I felt then like that was not something I would want, and I still feel the same way now. But to each her own.

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: Family Dinner Hour
« Reply #20 on: May 03, 2018, 04:46:08 PM »
I'd say we achieve this 80% of the time. Then another 15% one of us is traveling, or has a work commitment in the evening. Probably another 5% of the time, my husband & I go out alone (no kids, while they have a sitter), or I'm out with a friend.

Dinner is not always a glamorous affair at our house, but we sit at the table (no electronics) & chat. Sometimes the kids & adults are more talkative than others

LouLou

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Re: Family Dinner Hour
« Reply #21 on: May 03, 2018, 05:20:25 PM »
I don't know if you can call it the "American Way" anymore.  Kids are more likely to have scheduled activities.  Lower-income workers tend to have varying shifts.  Higher-income workers are more likely to have to work late, or have a 24/7 on your device job.

That said, family dinner hour will be a goal for my family.  My kid is too little for scheduled activities and I hope to avoid them when she's older.

calimom

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Re: Family Dinner Hour
« Reply #22 on: May 03, 2018, 07:42:53 PM »
OP here. I fully respect that families have work schedules that impede upon regular dinner times and kids' activities can be chaotic. When my eldest DD was at home, she was heavily involved in her school's drama department and would get home later than when the younger kids needed to eat. And when my son was in Little League, we'd often be rushing around to practices and games.

I'm self employed, so have the luxury of setting my hours to knock off in time to be home cooking dinner - with some exceptions. And I like to cook, but not every dinner is Pinterest-worthy. Tonight was veggie burgers, sweet potatoes and steamed broccoli. I do employ some tricks like making two pans of lasagna and freezing one, and making pasta sauce and pesto for the freezer for nights when things get hectic. My kids now are involved in swim team and horseback riding lessons, which are fairly family friendly in terms of being home at the same time. We do Mexican food with other families from the swim team on Friday nights when there's a meet, and we fairly regularly have a Sunday dinner with our extended family where everyone just makes one thing, which is great. This coming Sunday, I'm just down for making a big salad for 14 people. I love healthy food and sharing it with others.

NoStacheOhio

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Re: Family Dinner Hour
« Reply #23 on: May 04, 2018, 06:17:47 AM »
And I like to cook, but not every dinner is Pinterest-worthy.

Oh man, I forgot about this aspect of it. I love Instagram, but the lifestyle competition stuff that sucks up some people is so harmful.

asauer

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Re: Family Dinner Hour
« Reply #24 on: May 06, 2018, 05:51:24 AM »
Yes, every night.  Sitting down to a home cooked meal with my daily is extremely important to me. We have some of our deepest discussions over dinner and make sure that activities don’t interfere. That said, my husband and I are also extremely fortunate in that we both work the same general hours and neither of us minds cooking.

bcbaseballman

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Re: Family Dinner Hour
« Reply #25 on: May 07, 2018, 11:41:25 AM »
We eat together as a family the majority of the evening. DW & I along with two kids (2 & 3). Sundays we have a family movie night where we pick out a Disney movie and pull out our hide-a-bed couch and we normally cook a pizza and have popcorn. The other evenings are electronic free and at the dinner table. My wife is going to start a new job here soon that is an evening job so this will put a wrench in our plans but I still plan on sitting down with the two boys as much as possible.

Laura33

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Re: Family Dinner Hour
« Reply #26 on: May 07, 2018, 12:56:38 PM »
We eat together sufficiently frequently to satisfy me.  When the kids were little, I arranged my work schedule to leave by 4 most days, do pickup, and have food on the table by 6-6:30.  As they got older, life got busier, and they became more able to fend for themselves, and so now there are more nights when one or the other isn't around, or we have a "fend for yourself" night, or whatever.  But "family dinner" is still the default -- so much so that when DH goes out of town, I will let the kids have frozen mac and cheese or a can of ravioli in front of the TV, and it's a huge treat for them.  ;-)

boarder42

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Re: Family Dinner Hour
« Reply #27 on: May 07, 2018, 01:01:25 PM »
we plan to do this with our kids and we did it with our families growing up - with just two of us we jsut sit down in front of some netflix each night and eat.

AMandM

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Re: Family Dinner Hour
« Reply #28 on: May 15, 2018, 02:29:53 PM »
I'm posting because I want to know what happens as the kids get older.

Like everything else in family life, it depends.  I know several families, including mine, that have kept family dinners going through teenagerhood and beyond. For us, it has sometimes meant eating at odd hours (5:30 one night, 7:30 the next). It has meant saying no to certain activities because they interfered too much with dinner and they were less important to us than dinner together. I have few time-specific commitments away from home, so I can cook pretty much every night; also, as the kids get older, they learn to cook.

For those of you who want to have family dinners but don't have kids yet, let me recommend starting now. The benefits of conversation apply to your spouse as well as to your kids! Plus, you'll form the habit of eating together into which you can easily integrate the kids as they come along, rather than having to decide "When should we start?"


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Re: Family Dinner Hour
« Reply #29 on: May 15, 2018, 02:51:24 PM »
I think most those buy into the Leave it to Beaver scenes where the whole family is having dinner together and actually enjoy each others company.  I'm sure a lot of people do eat together at a set time and with the whole family, but there are also a lot of families that don't eat together because they have varying shift work or no one around to cook.  Growing up my dad was hardly home for dinner because he worked late or was always traveling, then when we migrated to the US it was just me, my mother and brother.  My mom had to work two jobs so most nights it was just me and my brother eating leftovers when she did have the time to cook but most of the time is was frozen dinners and other processed food.  This was also the case with most of my friends growing up who were mostly in the lower rungs of the socioeconomic ladder like we were. By the time we were in high school and college it was rare for all of us to be in the house at the same time so eating together was mostly for special events like birthdays.  This was the same with my wife as she was growing up. She had six siblings and parents working 2-3 jobs, so the parents/older kids would batch cook every few days and just leave it on the table until it was gone and repeat.  But most of the time it was just take out.

I had hoped to have the picture perfect dinners with my family every night.  My wife cooks and I am home for dinner every night, however my kids don't really sit down to eat for too long and I just end up yelling at them to stay sitting until they are finished.  Because I don't want to keep yelling at my kids I mostly just don't eat with them and eat on my own schedule.

I am a new parent and trying to learn about discipline and how to actually parent. Is yelling at them and finally giving in a good technique for when your children are testing your boundaries?

I would like to have family dinner every night but worry about enforcing it when the kid tests and doesn't want to sit there. Don't have to worry at the moment because he can't even sit.

Cassie

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Re: Family Dinner Hour
« Reply #30 on: May 15, 2018, 11:07:36 PM »
Hula, when we were in Italy we noticed how late people ate.  We ate at 5 and Little kids were in bed by 7.  By age 6 they could stay up until 8 and age 12 -?9 was bedtime.

Lichen

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Re: Family Dinner Hour
« Reply #31 on: May 16, 2018, 09:16:10 AM »
We eat dinner together at the table Mon through Thursday (% of the time), and eat pizza and watch a movie or play a board game together on Fridays. Weekends are free for alls, at least where dinner is concerned. We currently have a 17 year old and a 13 year old. We have done this since we moved into our current home in 2009 (previous homes had no dining area). My kids are approaching adulthood and they are genuinely delightful to be around -- they are people I enjoy just hanging out with. I honestly believe our dinner habits combined with our parenting style is the reason they have avoided much of the teen drama.

It's habit, the kids don't even complain about it. We serve meals family style, so with two teen boys being at the table is the only way to ensure "dibs" on a favorite food item.

We adjust dinner times. When the kids were young and had evening things (scouts, club meetings, whatever), we adjusted dinner time for either before or after, with a snack to tide them over. Now, we tend to eat around 6 pm, which gives teens plenty of time to eat before heading out to hang with friends, study, and do teen things.

Dinner together doesn't work for over-scheduled families. If you have to be three different places every night, it fails. For us, we allowed kids two activities at a time, and one had to be low stress (an art club for one and an astronomy for the other -- both with infrequent week night requirements as events tended to be on Saturday's). DW and I are also self employed, so we have the luxury of adjusting our schedule. I recognize this is a privilege not all families have.

Finally, For us at least, family dinners work because I want them to be low stress. We don't enforce putting things on plates one won't eat. If you don't like something, don't eat it. If a meal isn't appetizing, the kids are welcome to grab leftovers or a sandwich and join us back at the table. My mom forced me to eat green peppers as a kid (and she still tries to this day...), the only food I truly dislike, and the smell of them still makes me retch. I won't do that to my kids. They aren't that picky, so it's not a huge issue, anyway.

We also don't enforce how long one sits at the table. You simply stay until you are done eating or ready to leave. Some days we sit at the table for an hour talking, some days one (or all) of us wolf our food down in 10 minutes then go off to do our own things. The important thing, to me, is that we made it a priority to take part in a basic human ritual that day, no matter how short. For us, this is dinner. For another family, it could be a family bedtime ritual, coffee and cocoa together in the morning, a daily "meeting" to discuss plans. I think the only important thing is that we carve out time, any time, to touch base all at once as a united family unit at least once daily (most days). It is what keeps us connected.  It also shows our kids that they are important and that our time together as a family is a priority.

FLBiker

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Re: Family Dinner Hour
« Reply #32 on: May 16, 2018, 10:51:58 AM »
Awesome.  We do this too, although DD is only 3.  I also did this growing up, though, and it's something DW and I prioritize.

wordnerd

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Re: Family Dinner Hour
« Reply #33 on: May 16, 2018, 11:16:12 AM »
We do this with our toddler (we also ate together before we had kids). My parents were manical about it  , to the point that we ate at 9:30 every night for much of my childhood because that's when my brother's gymnastics practice ended. I hope to keep the family dinners, lose the over scheduled activities (which were harmful in other ways).

Cassie

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Re: Family Dinner Hour
« Reply #34 on: May 21, 2018, 10:50:51 PM »
One thing is if your kids have many years between them. My first and third were 7 years apart so times when we ate without the oldest and saved dinner for him

PNW Lady

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Re: Family Dinner Hour
« Reply #35 on: May 22, 2018, 05:58:51 PM »
I grew up sitting down for family dinners every night, although they became very awkward and unpleasant after around 12 because my brother and I always seemed to be in trouble for something.

Currently, DD is 10 and we have always sat down for family dinner M - TH, and then usually do something like pizza/movie/game night on Fridays. We are fortunate in that DD has had zero interest in any organized activities thus far, so we are usually home every night of the week. On occasion, DH or I will have to work late and will miss dinner, but it's not often.

I will say that kids with eating issues can totally blow up an otherwise pleasant dinner experience. I'm not saying it's their fault, just that sitting down together at the table can actually do more harm than good if the parents don't handle it the right way (I recall a stage where many a night I would end up losing my sh#t and screaming at my daughter for her refusal to eat - not my finest hour). DH and I have had to talk at length about learning how to choose our battles and making sure dinner time stays light and pleasant (no lectures, disciplining, nagging, etc.).

One really fun thing that we are able to do since the majority of our family lives close (and gets along) is have Sunday dinners all together, almost every-other week. Usually we go to my parents' house, but sometimes me or my sister will host. We all are interested in food so the cooking can get quite elaborate and the wine certainly flows. My daughter just loves it though. It wouldn't have worked in our twenties, but now that us "kids" have grown up a bit and are settled in our lives, it sure is fun. My daughter is the only child within our entire extended family so she gets a ton of attention. I'm really curious to see how the Sunday dinner dynamic will change once she hits her teen years. Fingers crossed things will stay fun. 

kanga1622

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Re: Family Dinner Hour
« Reply #36 on: May 23, 2018, 11:40:08 AM »
We eat together most nights but because our kids are young and we are dealing with food intolerances, we pretty much eat 3 different meals for the 4 of us on any given night. We usually don't have media at the table but occasionally bring out Siri or Alexa to answer a question. Our 8 year old brings up great topics but we don't always know the answers. :) We like to talk about our days, find out what the kids are doing at school, and talk about being a responsible person.

Breakfast, on the other hand, it not really a family time. If I happen to eat on the weekends when the kids do for breakfast, I will often be reading while they eat.

Cassie

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Re: Family Dinner Hour
« Reply #37 on: May 23, 2018, 12:52:34 PM »
Once a teen can drive some things become easier. They can take themselves to activities, etc and you no longer have to be the taxi service.  They also love to run errands for you so they can drive.  Once kids become teens they are busier so we sat down and ate with whoever was home. 

AZDude

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Re: Family Dinner Hour
« Reply #38 on: May 23, 2018, 02:28:16 PM »
We sit down and eat together the vast majority of nights, but occasionally one parent or the other is out doing something. Of course, we have only one child (6), and I anticipate that once she is a teen, the nightly ritual of eating together will happen less often. I do not plan on pushing to make her eat with us, since I wholeheartedly resented that when I was a teen. However, if people are home and hungry, they will have to come to the table to eat. No grabbing a plate and running off.

Steeze

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Re: Family Dinner Hour
« Reply #39 on: May 23, 2018, 02:55:47 PM »
My best friend in high school, his family ate together every night. His mom cooked after work. My friend didn't always join, but I never missed it. My family only ate together on holidays. By the end of high school I had moved into thier house, I had my own room. I only saw my family at work, we owned a restaurant at the time.

So be careful, your son's friend might just start showing up more and more, and then not leave!

kimmarg

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Re: Family Dinner Hour
« Reply #40 on: May 23, 2018, 06:31:47 PM »
I think most those buy into the Leave it to Beaver scenes where the whole family is having dinner together and actually enjoy each others company.  I'm sure a lot of people do eat together at a set time and with the whole family, but there are also a lot of families that don't eat together because they have varying shift work or no one around to cook.  Growing up my dad was hardly home for dinner because he worked late or was always traveling, then when we migrated to the US it was just me, my mother and brother.  My mom had to work two jobs so most nights it was just me and my brother eating leftovers when she did have the time to cook but most of the time is was frozen dinners and other processed food.  This was also the case with most of my friends growing up who were mostly in the lower rungs of the socioeconomic ladder like we were. By the time we were in high school and college it was rare for all of us to be in the house at the same time so eating together was mostly for special events like birthdays.  This was the same with my wife as she was growing up. She had six siblings and parents working 2-3 jobs, so the parents/older kids would batch cook every few days and just leave it on the table until it was gone and repeat.  But most of the time it was just take out.

I had hoped to have the picture perfect dinners with my family every night.  My wife cooks and I am home for dinner every night, however my kids don't really sit down to eat for too long and I just end up yelling at them to stay sitting until they are finished.  Because I don't want to keep yelling at my kids I mostly just don't eat with them and eat on my own schedule.

I am a new parent and trying to learn about discipline and how to actually parent. Is yelling at them and finally giving in a good technique for when your children are testing your boundaries?

I would like to have family dinner every night but worry about enforcing it when the kid tests and doesn't want to sit there. Don't have to worry at the moment because he can't even sit.

As far as dicipline I'd say start early. There are going to be tons of things you will have to enforce so family dinner, if it's important to you, is just one of many.

We often eat as a family and have ever since the 2.5 year old was able to sit up by herself in a chair. As far as kids and meals go, personally I pick my fights. I subscibe to the "you choose what and when they eat and they can choose if they eat and how much". So I offer the kid a plate and she can eat it or not eat it. If she doesn't eat it I do enforce it needs to be on the plate. which is a lot of "you don't have to eat that but it has to be in your mouth or on your plate". This started with me not getting stuff she dropped intentionally off the high chair. You drop it, it's gone. So yea, you'll have to enforce boundaries dinner is one of many.

zoltani

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Re: Family Dinner Hour
« Reply #41 on: May 24, 2018, 01:16:25 PM »
I think most those buy into the Leave it to Beaver scenes where the whole family is having dinner together and actually enjoy each others company.  I'm sure a lot of people do eat together at a set time and with the whole family, but there are also a lot of families that don't eat together because they have varying shift work or no one around to cook.  Growing up my dad was hardly home for dinner because he worked late or was always traveling, then when we migrated to the US it was just me, my mother and brother.  My mom had to work two jobs so most nights it was just me and my brother eating leftovers when she did have the time to cook but most of the time is was frozen dinners and other processed food.  This was also the case with most of my friends growing up who were mostly in the lower rungs of the socioeconomic ladder like we were. By the time we were in high school and college it was rare for all of us to be in the house at the same time so eating together was mostly for special events like birthdays.  This was the same with my wife as she was growing up. She had six siblings and parents working 2-3 jobs, so the parents/older kids would batch cook every few days and just leave it on the table until it was gone and repeat.  But most of the time it was just take out.

I had hoped to have the picture perfect dinners with my family every night.  My wife cooks and I am home for dinner every night, however my kids don't really sit down to eat for too long and I just end up yelling at them to stay sitting until they are finished.  Because I don't want to keep yelling at my kids I mostly just don't eat with them and eat on my own schedule.

I am a new parent and trying to learn about discipline and how to actually parent. Is yelling at them and finally giving in a good technique for when your children are testing your boundaries?

I would like to have family dinner every night but worry about enforcing it when the kid tests and doesn't want to sit there. Don't have to worry at the moment because he can't even sit.

As far as dicipline I'd say start early. There are going to be tons of things you will have to enforce so family dinner, if it's important to you, is just one of many.

We often eat as a family and have ever since the 2.5 year old was able to sit up by herself in a chair. As far as kids and meals go, personally I pick my fights. I subscibe to the "you choose what and when they eat and they can choose if they eat and how much". So I offer the kid a plate and she can eat it or not eat it. If she doesn't eat it I do enforce it needs to be on the plate. which is a lot of "you don't have to eat that but it has to be in your mouth or on your plate". This started with me not getting stuff she dropped intentionally off the high chair. You drop it, it's gone. So yea, you'll have to enforce boundaries dinner is one of many.


Thanks for the tips. Honestly I am terrified that I'll egt it wrong so I am just researching a ton right now and trying to come up with my own values and style.

Carrie

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Re: Family Dinner Hour
« Reply #42 on: May 24, 2018, 03:11:40 PM »
A huge bonus of eating together every night, or most nights, is that your kids learn how to visit around a dinner table. With no electronics allowed actual conversation becomes habit. Parents can reinforce nice table manners day after day. It's pretty cool when you can take your kids to have dinner with others or at a restaurant and they have nice table manners and can visit without fidgeting and without devices.

I think it's a terrific life skill (eating together, conversing without distractions) and is great opportunity to get to know your family better. Another kid-parent time I treasure is car time. No electronics/dvds,  just conversation. I've had some of my best conversations with my pre teen in the car.

CNM

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Re: Family Dinner Hour
« Reply #43 on: May 24, 2018, 04:01:40 PM »
My child and I eat together at home 9 nights out of 10.  My spouse tends to come home late, so he doesn't always make it.  We also have a huge family meal with one or both sets of grandparents, aunts/uncles, cousins about 1x per week.   

I grew up on a household where we had meals together every night. It was actually hard for me to get out of, if I wanted to play at a friend's house or something, I usually had to return home for dinner before leaving again.  I suppose that it was useful?  Hard to tell. I sure did learn a lot about my family history, though.  I also find it unusual when we eat at my in-law's house, the TV is on the entire time.  Seems rude, but it wasn't what I was brought up with, so perhaps I'm overly annoyed.

Back when our kiddo was a baby, we had a nanny come to the house.  When I got home after work, I would usually start cooking food from scratch.  One time she mentioned to me that ours was one of the only families she ever worked for where food was cooked at home.  She had been a nanny for twenty years!  She said most families with young children brought home take out.