Our Family Table

Supper is ready!”

Every evening between 6:30pm and 7:00pm, my husband and children join me at our dining table “to break bread“. The television is switched off, reading books and toys are set aside, the ringing telephone is left unanswered.

As the years pass, this routine is kept in our lives: no matter how hard it is to resist the call of the television at times, or how late we arrive home. It is round the table that we speak to one another: we hear the highlights of everyone’s day, as well as the lowlights. The children learn to express themselves as they share their experiences and their thoughts on any topic brought up at the table. Sharing our meal at the table has come to mean more than just eating as we build bonds with one another.

English: An image of my family eating a meal. ...
A family eating a meal together. Image via Wikipedia

Eating together at the table has shown our children the habit of eating food slowly – a habit they have learned very well! While eating we talk about the tastes we are experiencing, and whether we like it or not. I encourage the children to take at least one bite of a new food, or a food they do not like at the moment. In this way I hope their palate becomes accustomed to the new taste and they learn to savour it.

Eating slowly, we give our bodies time to begin the digestive process and are able to notice the signals that our tummies are full. This helps us to eat smaller portions, and helps to prevent ourselves from overeating. The children see the example we set them when we serve portions, they learn about greed and the pain that is felt with overeating, when to stop eating, and to not waste their food.

Eating together also gives my husband and I the opportunity to civilize our children: we remind them how to sit, how to eat properly with their cutlery, and give them the opportunity to practise dishing out their food. Their practice stands in good stead when we eat out at a restaurant, or go out for a meal at someone else’s home. Social norms are learned, which enables them to cope with eating outside of the home. In this way no-one is embarassed when faced with the unfamiliar territory of a set table.

I enjoy eating my meals together with my family. I enjoy the conversation, and seeing the development of our children as their conversation skills improve. I learn about the day that each member of my family had: their achievements, their difficulties, and the solutions they found for the problems which they encountered. I enjoy, too, seeing them appreciate the food that we have prepared. The meal is not 5 star – they are often quick and easy dinners – but they have been cooked with love and health in mind.

Do you eat one meal a day with the people you live with? What is the best part, for you, of participating in a shared meal?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2012


26 thoughts on “Our Family Table

  1. When my children were still at home, we would enjoy our meals together at the table. It is vital for growing busy families to have this time of togetherness. Too many eat on the run as they rush off to this lesson or that practice. Children would be far more grounded by giving up some outside activities and spending more time at the dinner table. I remember growing up, we would linger over dessert as my father told us stories. Making memories is so important.


  2. Love this and I agree! It’s a good time to bond with the hubby and kid. Life just whizzes by too often and a nice quiet dinner to unwind, catch up, explore and laugh never gets old for me.


  3. The meal looks delicious! I’m not as fortunate as you, I don’t see my family very often. I travel a lot, and move around often. I do think meals are important though, the quality of the meal is always determined by the quality of the company.


  4. Hi Colline,
    I know I have written briefly in my other blog about our evenings when I was a child. But they were just as you described. Our evening began long before we sat down, as in SA we met on the verandah after work, school and play, we talked about our day as a group, listened and took advise. No TV, no radio, just a cup of tea.
    Then off to the table each night; we would sit ,long after the meal was over, too.
    Table sharing is so cozy. Your children are very lucky, they are being brought up! It’s a shame the same does not happen everywhere.
    I share my table each night now with my special man and look forward to it.


  5. Wonderful! When my children visit me we usually have dinner because that’s why I invite them to visit me. We sit round the dinner table and have detailed discussions about everything. No hurry ups just relaxing. At the end we are all relaxed and happy. Good on you also for keeping up the family dinner.


  6. We never used to eat together, we all ate at different times. Then my daughter developed Anorexia Nervosa, very easy to not to notice when you aren’t eating together. Part of the refeeding process is to watch her eating, so now we do all sit down together and eat. We cook a meal and we laugh together, fight sometimes, but mainly we talk. It is lovely. Our dinning room table has become the communication centre in our home.


    1. Thank you for sharing an important aspect of eating with our children. Eating together, we can ensure that they at least get to eat one nutritious meal a day.


  7. This is so beautiful post. Wisely written. I agree with tou dear Colline. I We do appreciate eating together at the same time… My son, is not with us, working in another city. So, everynight I wait for my husband and we have our dinner together and it is the most beautiful talking time for us to be at the dinner table… Thank you, with my love, nia


  8. We, too, eat together as a family and likewise, turn off tv’s, all devices and leave phone unanswered. I hear grumbles every day from my boys when they are reminded to do so. But, I insist on it, because we all have been apart for the day and I’m interested to hear what happened in everyone’s day. It does give us a chance to find out what each of us has been doing and what were the highlights and the challenges of the day.

    I worked for almost one year on the afternoon shift and while I do enjoy the afternoon shift as it gives me freedom to pursue other activities during the day, I missed seeing my family at dinner. This was what I missed the most about working evenings – sitting down to dinner with the family and finding out about their day! These days I work primarily during the day, but also on the weekends. It is nice to be able to look forward to that re-connection time at dinner once again.


  9. Beautiful post, I read this and it hit home. My family and I do the same thing each night to come together as a family, and i love it, wouldn’t change it for the world. I loved your post so much I had to write my own post about our family table. I hope you don’t mind. Thanks for inspiring me.


    1. We are here to inspire one another – and in this way the message can spread to others. Eating together is being lost with the advent of television and the excuses of a busy schedule.


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