As a child, growing up my family rarely sat at the table together. I wish we did other families did it and their kids always seemed so much well adjusted to life. Once my dad and stepmom got together there were too many kids for us all to gather around the table. I will do it for my girls though. We just got our bigger house and my husband got the table he grew up eating at, as a gift from his mother. It is a big huge Ethan Allen table. I believe eating at the table is good for kids for a few different reasons;
1.) They can’t get away with not eating- My girls know that if they don’t eat dinner, then they won’t get dessert. If they throw a fit about this fact then they get to go to bed early that night. This actually works! My five year old just started eating meat. She still only eats a little bit but she will now try a bite of everything on her plate. Chicken was the biggest battle for her but she still tried it.
2.) We actually save on food bills- With my girls actually eating what they have on their plates they have a ton less room in their tummies for junk food. Gone are the days when they would beg for popcorn at night, or tried to have a third or fourth cup of milk at bed time.
3.) There is less tv watched at night- My husband and I ask my five year old about her day at school every night. She tells us about her day which normally includes a comment about new friends or what class she had that day music, gym, or art. Then she will ask her dad about any questions she has though of during the day. There has been so many things she has learned about so far this way like how to tie her shoes, and how to count to 20. If there has been any disciplinary issues to talk about with her about school we talk about it after dinner. Normally it is that she has been not high enough ranked on the clip chart at school and what she did that gave her a lower color. We make her do her homework before she gets to go and watch cartoons and maybe gets to watch one each night.
4.) It is a great place to play games- My church always had a game night with tons of food and litteraly played games for hours. Usually from 12 noon- 9pm, and I always wanted to be able to play games with my kids at the table when they got older because of that. Now we get to because my girls are old enough to do it. So much fun! We played our first game last Sunday and it was a money counting game. It was so fun to watch my little girl say aloud the name of the change piece and how much it was worth.
5.) It unifies the family. If you spend a lot of time together you are actually on the same page with each other and know what is going on in each other’s lives. It even helped my marriage because me and my husband are actually talking and not just going through the motions but not really talking to each other like we used to do before.
So if you don’t eat a the table as a family I challenge you to even for just a week. I bet it will improve the condition of your family relationships.