I have a confession to make. Up until a few weeks ago we hardly ate dinner at the table together. I changed our routine several months back and said we had to eat our Sunday Roast together to spend more time as a family, as eating dinner two or three times a year at the dinning table just wasn't good enough. I was raised eating dinner at a dinning table, and for me meal times was a big family event where everyone had a role. If they weren't cooking, or preparing a salad or bread for the table then they were in charge of laying the table or doing the dishes. It taught me responsibility and increased the family time we had; which as I wasn't doing with my family, having slipped into the TV Dinner mode that Daddy's family favoured, I felt like I was letting my family down.
The problem is I use my dining table as a dump centre. It has my craft materials on it, and everything else that doesn't have an actual home. This meant that clearing the table for dinner was a task that nobody wanted to undertake, it just took too long. Then I realised that this wasn't good enough, we are a family we love to spend time together and I want to utilize the time we spend eating as family time too and so I put all my craft things into boxes, thinned it out and made it easier to move. I will eventually find somewhere else for it to live, but I'm thinking I might have to wait until September when Big Boy is at school for me to have the time I need. The table was easy to clear for a few weeks, we would eat our Sunday roast at the table, but a couple of weeks back I got Daddy to agree that we needed to eat at the table for every meal, and this is what we have been doing, especially over this past Jubilee celebrating Bank Holiday weekend.
I'm really making an effort to make sitting at the table as attractive as possible. We put jugs of juice on the table, a bowl of salad, all the needed condiments and the children lay the table with help from Daddy (or me) including using our special home made table mats. We all sit together, without having to get up to get something that has been forgotten or is needed to complete the meal and Daddy and I have found that this is encouraging the children to eat foods that might not be their favourites and is allowing us to start more conversations that we are all involved in. We've also been able to help everyone remember their table manners and general good behaviour when sitting at the table, which is good practice for all of us for when we go out to restaurants to eat.
There has been some research released recently that shows children of families that eat together are less likely to be overweight themselves in the future. It's not the actual eating together that helps the children have a lower BMI, but I think it's because of the encouragement to eat more healthily sets up the children for the future.
It's well known that I'm overweight and I don't want my children to have to work as hard as I am to be a healthy weight. I want it to be natural to them and if eating at a table will help them then I'm doing my job as a Mother.
I'm interested to know though if I'm the last person to get their family to sit at the table or if others are like the old me and don't sit at the table apart from on special occasions or when eating out? What would it take for your family to sit at the table? What benefits have your family experienced from sitting and eating together at the table?