Family Dinners?

Do you have them? Do you have them every day? Every week?

Here’s an episode of The Current on the topic from last week. The interviewee is Laurie David (Larry David’s wife) and she’s a huge advocate of family dinners and how to get your family back to the table, and why you should want to put forward the effort. No surprise she’s on the show to promote her new book: The Family Dinner: Great ways to connect with your kids one meal at a time. Laurie’s discourse on the radio reminded me of an episode of Oprah from a season or two ago in which she spent time with families to reform their dinner times. Oprah saw families that were ordering takeout and each taking their food to a separate part of the house to eat on their own with their digital device of choice (texting, TV, laptop, whatever). The Oprah episode horrified me, but even Laurie’s interview seemed to indicate that the family dinner is a challenge.

More nights than note, we have dinner as a family. My kids are 2 and 5… so I can’t really imagine how they would get fed if we didn’t sit down with them. That said, we have friends whose nanny feed the kids before the parents get home from work, or whose kids get a big snack at daycare and don’t eat dinner, or who simply don’t enjoy the toddler meal and have a husband/wife dinner after the kids go to bed. I’m inclined to think that the latter is a great idea for us to try, at least once or twice a week.

But for now, we’re still the old fashioned four of us sitting down for dinner. It might not be fancy – in fact it’s definitely not fancy, but we’re there. I’ve been warned that this will get harder and harder to do as the kids get older. We’ll see. For now, Monday’s are definitely a challenge, as both boys have classes as 6pm. So we usually have eggs and crudités at 5:15. When the boys are older, I expect they’ll have more activities, but I’m also hoping we can push our dinner time back to 6:30 or so. Now if we have dinner at 6:30 the boys are falling asleep by the time we finish at 7pm.

I would love to hear success stories of how you’ve managed family dinners? Who’s able to get their 7/9 or teenage kids to the table for dinner more nights that not and how did you do it?

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One Comment

  1. I got this book from my mom as a gift. I think she was trying to tell me something.

    We actually do eat as a family, like you, very early… though I find it really challenging to get all of our food on the table at the same time. We don’t eat the same food – usually variations on a theme. The boys (3 and 5) like simple, usually unmixed foods, and are both fairly finicky about their preferences. I am a vegetarian who eats fish occasionally, and my husband doesn’t touch anything from the sea. It can be complicated! We may not be eating at the exact same moment, but we are almost always in the room together as we all eat.

    I have to admit that on occasion, I have let the boys finish watching a show while they start their dinner.

    Like you, I wonder what it will be like as they get older. I don’t remember having a choice (on the nights we didn’t have activities) and I’m not planning (right now) on giving one… though I have been known to give in… aaah – being a parent is hard.

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