Kiddos at Home

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The Importance of Eating as a Family

on June 25, 2013


I remember when I was growing up, we rarely had dinners as a family. On the rare occasion that we did, we all sat on the couch or the floor in the living room in front of the television watching some old reruns. My family was not one to do a lot of talking and to this day we have odd relationships with each other – we have dinner probably twice a year together, making small talk until the check arrives at the table.

My husband had a completely opposite upbringing. They had dinner at 7:00 almost every single night, as a family. First they said grace, then they each got the opportunity to tell about their day. The parents also discussed politics, money, religion, the news… anything to get a conversation started and help their kids learn and grow. Now that they are all grown and on their own, they still have dinner as a family every couple weeks and they talk a couple times a week over the phone. They are all involved in each other’s lives and maintain very strong relationships.

When we were first dating and married, I found it extremely difficult to participate in my husband’s family gatherings. To be honest, I still do. I find myself shying away to a corner so I am never the center of conversation because, to me, it is just not normal to have a strong relationship with family.

When we first had kids, I knew immediately what kind of family relationship I wanted for my children. While I have never done well with the in-laws due to my shyness, I knew I wanted different for my kiddos. I love the way my husband gets along with his siblings and parents and I want nothing less for my family.

So, one Friday or Saturday night a month, we get together with his family for a big potluck. It is usually a BBQ in his parents backyard. The kids all run and play and have their own special table. The adults all sit and talk, luckily for me my new sister-in-law is also shy so I have someone to quietly talk to as the rest of them laugh and joke around with each other!

Every single night of the week, we serve dinner around 6:30. My kids help me cook if they are done with their homework and I clean up while they have some time with their father. We sit at a table and discuss the day. On weekends, we often play a board game once dinner is cleared from the table.

I can already see my children will have great relationships with each other.

Does your family do dinner together? How do you keep the conversation going to encourage more learning as a family?

For some amazing dinner ideas at a low-cost, visit where they have a ton of recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $10!

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