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January 04, 2010


I'm wondering if we don't do this already-- with exceptions of my being gone on a business trip, I think we do. It is the rule. Even if they are refusing to eat or something, they have to sit with us. But if you are thinking of the need to make up for those rare evenings when they are left with a sitter-- that would be harder.

We did manage it with a teenager too, most of the time. Not Friday or Sat. When he is home from school now he is required to have dinner with the family on Sundays.

I do like your "chicken or egg" question-- hadn't ever thought about it that way....

Fabulous that you're already doing this, Carey. We try, but once I started thinking about it, I realized that someone was often mising at dinner -- at a meeting, home late from work, or at a friend's house. I'm thinking that on nights that we get a sitter we'll either have breakfast or lunch together or sit with the kids while they eat.

We have been fortunate to eat as a family this past decade as our house was also filled with infants and preschoolers- however this new decade is already proving a challenge with both kids now old enough to be active in elementary afterschool activities, sports, scouts, music etc- Glad you brought this idea up- so we can work on preventing what could easily be a quick erosion of family meals together. It sort of sneaks up on you if you are not paying due diligence-thanks for the tips!!

I grew up always having breakfast and dinner as a family even as a teenager when me and my brother were really involved in high school sports we still managed to eat our meals together. It is a tradition that we still continue today. Despite changing work schedules and my husband getting home later than he used to, we've managed to adjust our family schedule accordingly to sit down to a family dinner which allows us to talk about our day. I also love having breakfast together since somehow it just seems to start the day off right. Good luck and I look forward to hearing how everything goes via Twitter!

We do this and I can honestly say that it makes a huge impact on my kids. I am divorced from their dad and re-married, and have 50/50 custody but they are with us most days for dinner. I can absolutely say that our having dinner--and breakfast and lunch, when possible--has helped restore a sense of normalcy to my kids' lives. Especially in our situation, where chaos is, to some extent, a given, anything we can do to make the kids feel a sense of calm and normalcy is a great thing, and mealtime is one of our best times as a family. I honestly feel that family meals have helped heal my kids--both when I was still a single mom and still now that I'm remarried. It's also helped foster a good relationship between my new husband and the kids. Life is far from perfect, but for us, sharing meals and the rituals that go with them, is one of the brightest parts of each day.

such a great goal. we're trying to do this more and more. but it's very hard with an active 2.5-year old. after the plate tumbles to the floor, the milk is dumped on my daughter's dinner and i've heard the word "yucky" 12 times it's hard to continue. but we do. in the end it will pay off. deep breaths in and out. what's funny is i'm finding cooking with my kids so much easier than actually eating with them. happy new year. phyllis

Mary, I agree that now is the time to get this habit in place!

Leticia, it is inspiring to hear that you preserved your family dinners through your teenage years. That gives me hope. I love the idea of breakfast together, too, but we only manage on weekends because I leave for the office before the kids are up.

Maggie, Thanks you so much for sharing your experience with us. I now have this image of the family meal as the safe harbor, no matter what storms around outside of us.

Phyllis, I can relate. I ask the kids to sit down so many times during a meal that even I get tired of hearing it. I love your insight that cooking together is easier than eating together.

I love this post! We do have a family dinner together almost every single night and began when our eldest was about four (he, too, is a 2000 baby). My husband ate this way as a child and can't imagine it any other way. I'm the child of a divorce, so dinner was never something we made a family priority, but I'm thoroughly enjoying it now. We're not strict about it though, and sometimes even feed the kids early so we can enjoy an adult-only-date-night-dinner later, together. The kids enjoy their fun dinner together and I like showing them that Daddy and I have a relationship separate from them, and we need to nourish that as well.

Looking forward to reading about your experiment via twitter. I'll need to add you now!

Love it. This is definitely a priority for us as well, although I can certainly relate to the up and down, spilled milk, yucky, please sit down etc. that makes it all a bit nuts. Still, it is a time to be together every day, and I think you are right that it sets a pattern that helps everyone stay connected, especially in the teenage years. Good luck!!

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