The Value of Dining Together

by Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom on February 6, 2009

Tonight’s guest post comes from none other than “the Hubs”! He shares his thoughts on the importance of family time over the dinner hour.

Every afternoon I come home from work to a house overflowing with savory smells from the kitchen. The boys run to the door to greet me, and tackle me as I come through the door. I greet my lovely wife. I hang out with the boys, while Erin puts the final preparations on dinner. What an awesome way to unwind after work! Im so blessed to have boys to play with and a wife who works hard to prepare low cost nutritious meals!

The greatest value of the dinner hour isnt the price of the meal (don’t get me wrong, I do appreciate Erin’s frugality), but the time shared dining together as a family. This is something that I learned from my Dad. He made dinnertime a priority as we were growing up. Our time at the table lasted longer than the food on the plate. The conversation was active and all were encouraged to share about their day and its adventures. I remember countless times that my brothers and I had to share what we learned in school that day. “Oddly,” there were days when nothing really happened in school. But, we still sat together and enjoyed our meal.

Now that I am a dad, it is my top priority to make the most of every meal that we share together. And I will just have to smile when my boys are old enough to say that all they learned in school that particular day was nuthing. I remember those days, as if they were yesterday!

What I wish to pass on to my boys: the best value of a meal is the time spent dining together.

Isn’t he the best?

Do you regularly eat dinner as a family??? Or breakfast? Or lunch? I’d love to hear some of the fun things you do as a family while sharing a meal!

{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Doris February 6, 2009 at 6:21 pm

Yes…we eat dinner together every night my kids are with me.

You know…this is going to sound so weird, but going broke has been the best thing for our family! Ever since I really figured out that we needed to cut back – WAAAAAAY back – on our costs, my kids and I seem to have bonded even more. We plan some meals together, we share in the preparation (even if it’s just setting the table and pouring the drinks), and we SIT DOWN and enjoy each other’s company for a time. There’s no loud music blaring where we can’t hear each other…no server to interrupt every other word that comes out of our mouth…and no stress over the cost of the meal! It’s lovely!

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Heather February 6, 2009 at 6:44 pm

Thanks for this post. It’s good to hear this from a Dad’s point of view. I definitely think that eating together is high on the list of one of the most important things a family can do together each day. We try to eat together during as many meals as possible with as few external distractions (TV, phone, etc) as possible. I think that eating together as a family is part of the netting that binds families together.

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(F)redddy February 6, 2009 at 6:48 pm

Dinner/meal time is most definitely a priority in our house. There’s really only one or two nights a month we eat out. And regardless of whether we’re at home or out, if we’re at a table, we begin each meal with our family “prayer” (or should I say, cheer), “YAAAAAAAAAY FAMILY”.

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Rebecca February 6, 2009 at 7:25 pm

We always eat dinner together as a family, unless there is something really odd going on with our schedules (or when my husband was working 2nd shift, and then my son and I would always have dinner together at the table, and then I would sit with my husband when he ate his dinner when he came home). My son even waits until we come home if we are at an appointment or something.

I can’t even imagine not eating together, I don’t understand how families can do that.

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Celeste February 6, 2009 at 7:47 pm

Good man

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Mrs_Scotsman February 6, 2009 at 8:13 pm

We try to eat together every night. We had gotten into a bad habit of watching TV while eating. We are working on not doing that. We only have one kid so it’s not hard to work out our schedules to eat together. I homeschool so Bekah tells her dad what she did during school and if we went anywhere that day.

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Michelle February 6, 2009 at 8:38 pm

since the day my oldest was born,the one thing we’ve managed to do is always have our dinners together. Even at one low point where I worked until 7, 7:30 at night and we ate late (and I put a tv in the dining room because I was trying to multitask-forgive me)we’ve always understood the importance of having everyone together. This goes beyond dinner, you know. You can’t all eat together if the kids each have 3 extracurricular activities you are constantly driving them to. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t ever want my boys to be deprived of opportunity. But the reality is that I didn’t didn’t take gymnastics, girl scouts, piano and cheerleading all at one time, and I turned out just fine, thank you very much. There are things to learn from those opportunities. But the moments you can have together as a family are limited and you should take every single one while you can. Your child will carry those memories for the rest of their lives. I know I can remember them. And I can only vaguely remember gymnastics. Stupid balance bar. :)

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Peach February 6, 2009 at 8:41 pm

Excellent post!

Hubby & I need to be more efficient with our time & make meal times together a definite priority. No tv, no books, no anything else!

Lemme go see if we can make this work for dinner tonight!

:)

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Upstatemomof3 February 6, 2009 at 10:01 pm

We always eat dinner as a family. I agree that it is so important for families to have that time to talk and unwind. To learn about the days of the other family members’ days.
On the weekends when we are all home we eat breakfast together too.
Ultimately whenever we can we sit down and enjoy our time together. There is no doing anything other than family time when we are all sitting around the table.

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Doris February 6, 2009 at 10:19 pm

Wow, it really is nice to hear a man’s point of view about eating dinner together as a family. We also try to eat dinner together every night. It’s not easy because of differing work schedules, but it is well worth the effort.

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mom February 6, 2009 at 10:30 pm

Yes, I agree! We eat dinner together every night. My kids friends can’t believe it, although they like it.

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This Country Girl February 7, 2009 at 1:45 am

It was neat hearing from Dad on this. I think it’s great and more families should do so. We eat together every night and every other meal that we’re all home at the same time. I can’t imagine it any other way.

I know my son had a friend over and he thought it was the “neatest” thing that we all ate together “at the table”. It never occurred to me that this wasn’t the norm! :)

Have a great weekend!
Tammy

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KentuckyGal February 7, 2009 at 6:01 am

I can testify to the value of having meals together as a family because my family so rarely gets to eat together. I work 3-11pm and so most of the time am not around for supper. *sigh*

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Sarah, The New Girl February 7, 2009 at 8:48 am

With a single mom, sometimes our family didn’t really have the time to eat together. Sunday mornings, though, were our time– and we all looked forward to it. I know how hard my Mom worked, and I want to start learning how to cook now so that when I have a family I can have time (and a budget!) for these special dinners.

From a poor grad student– thanks for the $5 meals!!

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Beth February 7, 2009 at 10:28 am

The girls and I eat breakfast together on week days before school while DH packs our lunches. Dinners are a nightly event together, except on Girl Scout nights, when the girls eat at home and DH and I go out for a date. On weekends, almost every meal, breakfast, lunch, and dinner are eaten together. I love it, especially when I compare it to the experiences of my students – who tell me that they only eat with their family, at a table on holidays.

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Frugally Ever After February 7, 2009 at 11:21 am

Lovely! We eat dinner as a family every night (breakfast usually doesn’t work out). To encourage conversation, and not just scarfing down food, we like to go around to everyone and say the best and the worst part of your day. It really opens up the dinner conversation and helps get over the “nuthing” pause.

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Jennifer February 7, 2009 at 11:23 am

Sounds like your hubby is a keeper! :0)
We are big on eating together, and do it at all meals possible. My hubby is a fireman, so he’s gone every third day, so obviously on those days he can’t eat with us. But on the other days we all eat together, and usually at the table. Friday or Saturday nights (depending on which one hubby is home) are (homemade) pizza nights, and we tend to be a bit more casual then and hang out in the living room to eat – but we are still all together. I definitely think meals together as a family are important! I don’t have a ton of memories of that growing up, but I’m trying to make the memories for my kids!

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Jennifer February 7, 2009 at 1:20 pm

We almost always eat dinner together as a family. I think it is so important.

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gail February 7, 2009 at 1:45 pm

love this post by your hubby! yes, we eat dinner together every nite except the one that my hubs is in class. since he’s a student he also comes home for lunch everyday. this is a great time for just the two of us. we chat and we play backgammon during lunch–its a great bonding time and fun time for both of us.

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Kaycee February 7, 2009 at 3:27 pm

We always eat dinner around the table. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Breakfast is a little different. My 6yo is a dawdler and likes to take his time eating so we take a “man vs. food” approach and set the timer for 15 minutes. This gives him plenty of time to eat.

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Elaine February 7, 2009 at 5:34 pm

What a great blog post! I’ve been browsing through past posts and you have some delicious looking recipes which I am certainly going to try. I just have one teenage son living at home now ( with two sons married) and we still see the value in dining almost every evening around the table with one another. We’re blessed to live in the same city as our married children and we frequently share meals here and in their homes. After all these years I can truly say it is so rewarding to share this time with your family! I’m so glad that as a young married couple so many years ago we decided to make this a priority!
Blessings, Elaine :)

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Christine February 7, 2009 at 6:15 pm

We eat together almost every night. I’m sure with 4 kids that eventually will be more difficult, but it is a priority that we will deny activities in order to fulfill. We like to talk about what happened in our day, what we’re thankful for, tell jokes, etc. Right now dinnertime doesn’t last that long (with 2 toddlers and all) but we look forward to extending that time as the kids get older!

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Blakely February 7, 2009 at 6:44 pm

Both my husband and I ate dinner with our families growing up and even though we don’t have any children it is important for us to eat dinner together now. We also lucky enough to work three blogs from each other and we are able to eat lunch together also.

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Rona's Home Page February 7, 2009 at 6:46 pm

How sweet. It’s fun when we hear from the spouses and kids.

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Anonymous February 7, 2009 at 7:31 pm

With us trying to eat in more, sometimes coming home to find a meal can be a chore. However, we have discovered (not that it’s new) that you can have breakfast for dinner. I treat it as a special treat and my children love it!!! We have made it even by calling it “Breakner” or “Dinfast” it just depends on which child is saying it.

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B. Keefer February 7, 2009 at 8:07 pm

I grew up in a family that ate together every night. No TV, no radio, no outside distractions.

Now I do the same with my family. Every night we eat together. No TV, no radio, no answering the phone.

It was nice to see that it is just as important to a dad as it is to a mom and the kids. It was also nice to find that it is as important to others as it is to us in this day and age.

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Converting A Spendthrift February 7, 2009 at 8:12 pm

Now we rarely have meals together. I am out the door by six thirty am. Hubby works second shift so he doesn’t get off until eleven pm.

The weekends are when we often sit down to a meal together. I would love for us to return to nightly meals together.

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crazydaisy February 7, 2009 at 9:43 pm

We absolutely eat dinner together every night! However, we only eat at the dining room table about half of the year! We live in snow country, a 100 year old house with poor heating and all, but we are still together! We love the social bonding aspect of dinner!

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Sheliza February 9, 2009 at 9:40 am

what a great post and yes our family regularly shares mealtimes depending on school, work, activities, etc. I think it is so important to do this and to pass it on to our children :)

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Andrea @ Mommy Snacks.net February 9, 2009 at 1:22 pm

I’m just now reading this (seeing how I was a little busy being ya’ll chauffeur). This is a great post, Erin’s hub!!!

Eating dinner as a family is a priority in our home. We inevitably get the “nuthin” happened at school today from our oldest son. The point in that is that we heard it! We are showing our kids that our family time at dinner is so important because we will soon be running to practice or other activities. I want them to remember these times too!

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Taylor February 9, 2009 at 2:42 pm

Even though my fiance and I aren’t a full family (our baby doesn’t quite eat at the table…or even stay awake for our dinner time), I always try to make it a priority for us to sit at the table with the TV off and have a meal together. I don’t think people truly realize how that one little thing can change your whole day. Even if he gets home at 1 am, i will still sit with him and eat just so he doesn’t have to eat alone.

Dining together is great, and forms special family bonds! Great post, dad!

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Jenny February 9, 2009 at 6:20 pm

We always eat together.
We don’t allow video-game talk at the table.
When conversation lags, we play a word game: name things in alphabetical order. Someone picks a category like trees, countries, flowers, animals, tools, stuff for a trip or camping, etc. Then each person takes a turn.

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Erin February 10, 2009 at 8:57 am

I couldn’t agree more. This was not something I grew up with, since my Dad was a doctor and gone a lot and there were four kids with crazy schedules! Dr. Dobson says that the largest contributor to the break down of the american family is because we do not eat dinner together! We are very adament about doing this as well! It is a great place for all the details of the day to come out for everyone to hear!

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