Sit Down and Eat

I found it interesting to read the story Family meals now a thing of the past at a couple of days ago.

The story tells us that fewer families are sitting down to eat a meal together. We’re told that busy schedules mean that families are eating on the run rather than enjoying mealtimes together.

FAMILIES are rarely sitting down together for a meal and when they do it’s usually later than ever before as longer working hours and other commitments battle for our time.

Experts on social change said it is becoming increasingly difficult for dual-income families to co-ordinate their schedules.

Busy parents were also more likely to cook ready-made meals and make less meals from scratch.

A survey of more than 1000 Australian families found almost a quarter don’t regularly eat together, while almost half of parents said they find it hard to make time for family meals.

The survey, commissioned by food manufacturer Continental, found that just 22 per cent of families shared a meal four times a week or less, while teenagers were also less likely to eat with their families.

We certainly make a point of eating together but one of the dangers we’ve found is eating in front of the television too much. I don’t have an issue with sharing a meal while watching a family favourite on the box but would certainly not want to sit the family down in front of a programme that is just on becuase it’s on.

I also don’t want meals in front of the TV to be the standard. Sitting around the dining room table and having the opportunity to talk about the day or share a joke is one of those things that helps a family grow together rather than apart.

I know that times are very tough for many families and that work committments do take people away from the home far more than they would like but there are some people who take on extra commitments so that they can afford a ‘better lifestyle’ while at the same time they’re losing something far more precious.

What are mealtimes like at your place? Do you enjoy sitting around the table, taking time over a family meal or do you grab what you can when you can? Is it time to review meal habits at your place?

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About the author

Rodney Olsen

Rodney is a husband, father, cyclist, blogger and podcaster from Perth Western Australia.

He previously worked in radio for about 25 years but these days he spends his time at Compassion Australia, working towards releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name.

The views he expresses here are his own.

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  • We sit down as a family with our teenager and toddlers every night (even if Pizza) I didn’t think it was so unusual.3-4 times a month we have my brother and his family, mum too. We don’t have the TV on much anymore.
    Thanks for sharing.

  • I read this article too. As a single mum, I know what it’s like running around to all the kids activities. But I also try to have family meals when I can. I did find something that helps me. It’s a computer software called Ezyeating. I bought it online. Once I put recipes in it, it gives me a meal plan and grocery list for the week. I find I do a little better when I’m not trying to plan what to cook while running from one activity to the other. Crock pots are great too!

  • I love to eat! I love to eat with the family too (3 years old & 7 months old). We eat at the dinner table mostly, but we also go to cafes/restaurants! In spring, summer and early autumn we have picnics or eat at the outdoor patio. And sometimes we have a ‘picnic’ on the floor in the lounge in front of the telly. Eg my Blog posting about eating takeaway while watching The Biggest Loser…

    But we pay a price for that because our 3-year old is often going to bed ‘too late’ for the books that say kids need to be in bed by 7.30pm!

    If we eat together as a family, then we don’t sit down until I get home (Just before 6pm). But often, we don’t start cooking until I get home… But we love the family time so make that choice even though it probably isn’t the best for our kids sleeping!

    Feels like “damned if you do and damned if you don’t…”

  • The only time we sit down to eat as a family is – WHEN I’M PAYING!!! And like once the meal is done all I see are ankles and elbows.

  • Trish, it really shouldn’t be so unusual. We very rarely miss having dinner together. I’m sure the time will come when different commitments will mean that it’s not possible every night but we’ll still make it a priority to spend that precious time together as much as we can.

  • Peter, I reckon that it’s more important to spend family time than to have kids in bed when a book says you should.

    Obviously bedtimes are more important when it gets to the school years but I would never want to be one of those families where either of the parents is gone from the house before the kids are up and back home once they’re asleep.

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