In a world where everyone is busy all the time, taking an hour out of the day to sit and enjoy a meal with your family is an important habit to create.
Dining with your family allows for parents, children and siblings to really connect on an regular basis and provides the framework to an open and ongoing communication between family members that has a positive knock on effect throughout all family members’ lives.
Taking a daily meal together around the table provides a time when families can talk through the issues and excitements of their day, sharing triumphs and tribulations and seeking the opinions of those close to them. Parents who regularly dine with their children are much more likely to have a handle on areas of their lives such as homework and friends, while children whose parents take the time to sit and share a meal in the traditional fashion are likely to enjoy the sense of solidity this new habit brings into their home.
A key to enjoying family meal times is to create a family room dining area where everyone is comfortable and able to enjoy a sociable dining experience free of distractions. Check out these tips for creating a great family dining space where all the family will be happy to spend time together.
The dining table
The key feature of a daily family dining experience is the table – so it is important that everyone in the household understands the importance of this piece of furniture.
Dining tables should be kept clear, to allow for setting places and dining when it comes time for a meal. The dining table is not the place to situate the family computer and clutter should not be allowed to pile up on the dining table between meal sittings.
One way to avoid this happening is to place clean table settings on the dining table at the end of every meal to remind the whole family of this furniture’s function and to keep clutter at bay throughout the day.
TV free zone
If you have a dedicated family dining room, then there is no place for a television. Meal times should be about connecting and conversing and having shows playing in the background is distracting and disrespectful.
If your dining table is situated in an open plan living area where there is also a television, situate the two so that none of your diners is looking in the direction of the screen. A TV can draw the eye to this area even when it is switched off, which, of course, it should be during all dining times.
Linens you love
If you want your family to understand the importance of shared mealtimes, then going the extra mile to make eating feel like an experience is important. If you don’t currently use table linens in your home consider investing in a set or two that you love. A beautiful tablecloth and linen napkins create a sense of occasion at every meal, and having these props in place makes it easier to teach your children the correct table manners for when they are dining out in future.
Light and bright
Dining by candlelight is for lovers – families need to be able to see each others reactions as they share the news of their day over dinner. If you dining area is at street level you won’t want to feel like you are in a fishbowl, so consider window dressings that allow the flow of natural light such as nets or even a partial shutter that leaves the top of the window unobstructed.
For dining in the winter invest in dedicated lighting, such as an over table pendant, or supplement ceiling lighting with well placed lamps to ensure you family meals are light and bright.
No tech please
With everyone in the family likely to be using a phone or tablet as part of their daily life, the dining area should be designated as a tech free zone.
Provide a basket at the door where devices should be dumped while you dine, freeing all family members up to enjoy an exciting and interactive experience as they eat.
An hour a day keeps the blues at bay
Families who dine together can really reap the benefits of this easily sustainable household habit, which helps to cement powerful bonds and build open and honest relationships between the generations. Taking time to create a space where this can happen is truly worthwhile.