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Do you have dinner together as a family?

Poll Results: Do you have dinner as a family together?

 
  • 78% (172)
    Yes, usually
  • 11% (24)
    Sometimes
  • 8% (19)
    Almost never
  • 1% (3)
    OTHER
218 Total Votes  
post #1 of 65
Thread Starter 
The thread about dinner conversation starters (good ideas in there!) made me a bit envious... we almost never have a chance to have dinner together. DH gets home around 7pm usually. The kids (ds1 is 5, ds2 is 3) eat their dinner around 5:30. They play, we have baths, etc. and they're getting ready for bed and hanging around the table eating bedtime snacks and asking for tastes of dh's food while dh quickly eats his dinner, and then we each do a kid's bedtime, around 7:30. I eat after the kids are asleep - I can't eat in earnest while getting their food and refilling waters and such, I like relaxing with my food!

Sometimes all the stars align right and dh is home a tad early, kids had a late snack which pushes their dinner a bit later, and we all eat together. But how anyone has conversation is beyond me! I'm refilling portions and cutting small pieces, filling waters and cleaning up spills and reminding kids to sit not stand in chairs, etc. Then after about 5 minutes kids are gone into the other room to play, and they're in and out of the dining room not letting us grownups talk. So. Dinners are so not quality time around here. How do you do it! How many of you DO do it?
post #2 of 65
It's very rare that we don't have dinner together. However, my DH (for the most part) is home by 5:30, which makes it easy for us. Our girls are 9,7 & 4
As far as conversation goes, you can imagine the conversations with three girls, lol!
post #3 of 65
My kids are older than yours, but we have been eating dinner together since they were small. My dh was generally able to be home for dinner, and having another adult makes it easier, but here is what I can remember doing to make it easier to sit and eat with little ones. First, I would have water cups filled when I called everyone to dinner, cut up the food right away, and then eat.

A thought based on what you wrote-- I'm wondering if you could start letting the kids do a little more for themselves? A 5 year old should be able to refill his own water cup, and serve himself seconds (he may need guidance at first, but he could learn).

HTH!
ZM
post #4 of 65
Tonight we didn't but I'd say we do the majority of the time. I have 4 year old twins. It isn't always the most pleasant experience but it is something I try to do.
post #5 of 65
My dd and I always eat dinner together, but since it is the two of us that is very easy. I don't know if this would work for two kids, though it does when we watch other kids at dinner time, but I typically fill up all the plates and cups first then bring the stuff to the table and we eat together. I allow the kids to get up and fill their own cups with water when their milk is gone and I give enough food that there is typically a little left over and only a growing child needs more. Not serving them waitress style may help you all to have a more relaxed meal together if that is something you want to try.
post #6 of 65
We have dinner together every night. It's the only time in the day (during the week) when all 4 of us get to be together.
Dh doesn't get home until 6:30-6:45 so it is a bit of a late dinner for my 4 yr old but he's used to the schedule. 5-10 minutes after dh gets home we sit down to eat. One of us holds our 7 month old and we talk about each others day and what we did. I love this time together. DS is a slow eater so we're usually done before him but if he does finish early we ask that he stay at the table to enjoy our conversations.
The one down side is that right after dinner one of us gets ds ready and into bed. Probably not great that he eats and goes straight to bed.
post #7 of 65
We did until this month. Now Tristan wants to nursing to sleep by 6:30, but DH doesn't get home until about 6:30... so lately DH and DD have been eating together at 6:30, and I eat after Tristan's asleep (about 7:30). We eat together on weekends but for the moment, not so much on weekdays.
post #8 of 65
That does sound like a rough schedule! Couldn't you and dh eat together after the kids are in bed? At least then the two of you could relax and talk while you eat.

In our family, dh works from home and I teach part time, so I get home anywhere between 3:30 and 5 depending on the day of the week. DD just turned 4 and still takes long naps every day, so her bedtime isn't until 9ish. We have ample opportunity to eat dinner together every day. And breakfast too. Sometimes dh has to travel or I have an evening meeting and we aren't all together, but not very often.
post #9 of 65
We eat as a family. The kids don't even get home from school until 4:30 (and have a snack then), and we all stay up pretty late - so even if we had to wait on DH we would still eat together.
post #10 of 65
It was a challenge when we were a 2-income family, and I worked long hours in a very stressful profession. There were a lot of nights when I missed dinner. If I made it home within "dinner time", we ate together.

"Dinner time" could be anywhere from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Waiting for the family to come together in the evening was/is very important to us, and dinner could wait until then.

Since I left that job, dinner has been much more manageable. In some ways, schedules are more complicated thanks to the kids' activities, but we still eat together more often than not.
post #11 of 65
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by zeldamomma View Post
here is what I can remember doing to make it easier to sit and eat with little ones. First, I would have water cups filled when I called everyone to dinner, cut up the food right away, and then eat.

A thought based on what you wrote-- I'm wondering if you could start letting the kids do a little more for themselves? A 5 year old should be able to refill his own water cup, and serve himself seconds (he may need guidance at first, but he could learn).
You have a point there. Both kids are able to get their own water. But I should try to arrange it to let them get seconds, I guess. Right now we are doing it "restaurant" style, not "family style". Mostly because I feel like having kids serve themselves opens up a whole new set of dinner policing...?
post #12 of 65
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ecoteat View Post
That does sound like a rough schedule! Couldn't you and dh eat together after the kids are in bed? At least then the two of you could relax and talk while you eat.
A nice idea. DH usually insists on eating as soon as he gets home, since he says when he eats too late at night he gets heartburn and has a hard time falling asleep. Sometimes he sits with me when I eat, or even eats with me, and that is nice.
post #13 of 65
We do always have dinner together, and I became surprised at one point to find that this is very important to my older dd. She was out playing with friends and we decided to let her keep playing since she was having so much fun instead of making her come in to eat with us, and she was really upset that we hadn't all eaten at the same time. So we got her a watch and now she keeps track of the time and comes in at 6.
post #14 of 65
Thread Starter 
Thank you all so much for telling me what your dinner times look like. I'm pretty amazed, actually, how many of you really do the family dinner thing! I wish my dh also valued that time more, and had more patience for the chaos it can be, or maybe I need a whole new schedule and system to get that family time to happen!
post #15 of 65
Almost always. Like 90% of the time or more, unless dd has dinner at someone else's house due to a play date or we all just have a "forage" dinner night. I will admit that sometimes it is take out pizza clustered around the coffee table while we watch our favorite family show, but hey we're together and that's what counts! But usually we prepare dinner together and sit around the table with no distractions (ie, radio or tv).

I actually try to keep conversation to a minimum because dd can get so chatty that she really doesn't eat much, then we outpace her, and if we leave the table before she's done, then she loses interest in her food. *shrug*

Our dinner time is usually around 7pm (I know, I know) or even later. We let our kid stay up much later than her peers, and if we didn't we would not have as much time together as a family. She is almost 7yo and we homeschool, so she is able to sleep in til about 8:30 or 9 every day, so I'm okay with her having a later bedtime.

*eta* One thing that helps me avoid the getting up and down thru the meal is that I set the cookpots on the table and sometimes a carafe (okay, a giant sigg bottle) of water on the table. We serve to our plate out of the cookpots and re-fill from the bottle or everyone gets their own drinks. The table can be very full this way what with condiments and all, but it keeps me or dp from having to get up and serve seconds/drinks.
post #16 of 65
Almost always. Dinner is at 6ish at our house and the boys and I (and dh unless he's at work) eat together. If dh isn't there, he eats when he gets home while the kids are getting ready for bed.
post #17 of 65
My sons are 7 and 4 and we eat dinner as a family every night and always have. Honestly, I don't know how it would work otherwise. We all want to eat while the food is hot! We eat around 7-7:30 most nights, then they take a shower and read in bed until 8:30 when we turn the lights out. Occasionally we don't eat until 8-8:30 and they go to bed without showers or reading time.
The kids put silverware, napkins, and glasses of water at the table. They can also get themselves more water from the sink, but even a 2 yr. old can pour water from a small pitcher.
We're still working on table manners (chew with your mouth closed, no elbows on the table) but we all enjoy sitting and talking at the dinner table. The kids ask to be excused when they are finished and put their dishes in the sink.
post #18 of 65
Five days a week, all of us are there for dinner. Two days a week, I work in the evenings, and the kids eat with DH. One thing that really helps us is that my DH's schedule gets him home at 3:30. He leaves the house at 6:30 am and gets home at 3:30.

That said, dinnertime happens because we make it a serious priority, but it IS a very chaotic affair. To me, though, the dinner table is where kids learn so many things about being in a family, and the rudiments of civilized behavior, and so many other things, so we have always gone through a lot of trouble to make sure it happens, even when it was very challenging, like when the twins were newborns.

Another thing that's helped a lot is laying down some expectations. For example, once a child gets down from the table, they must go out of the room, and they don't come back. That takes time and patience and consistency to make happen but once they "got it," it did make things a lot more peaceful. But mostly, we've just gotten used to the chaos. Dinnertime is messy and noisy and often DH and I will sit down after the kids go to bed and have a second little meal together so that we can enjoy the peace and quiet, and because often neither of us has time to eat much.
post #19 of 65
We try to most nights. If we have left overs or pizza we eat in the living room vs. sitting down at dining room table together.
post #20 of 65
Yes, we almost always eat dinner together. It is not relaxing with a two year old, but some days it's our only time together as a whole family since dad works two jobs. I think it's very important!
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