The family dinner table is the central hub where a strong foundation is built for children. At the dinner table children are introduced to rules, develop fine motor skills through the use of cutlery, develop social skills and eating habits. If a child is introduced and becomes use to eating unhealthy meals that don’t often include fruit or vegetables they will continue eating like this as they get older. Family dinner time can give children a chance to learn how to cook and to help them make healthy choices. The family dinner table provides the family with a very important time for communication and socialization. Children often learn about their family history as family stories often are shared around the dinner table especially at gatherings. These stories also introduce children to what it is like being an adult.
People are only getting busier and are not eating together as often. It is not uncommon for a family to be running to a practice and have dinner in the car, or while watching a sibling’s ball game. Technology and social media also interfere with dinner time. In many cases phones are becoming more interesting than the food. This is often displayed in restaurants when you see families gathered physically around the table together but are socially disengaged and more interested in their phones and devices.
Studies have shown that family meals are not just about the food. Research shows that students who regularly have dinner with their family perform better in school.
Getting the family together to prepare dinner is a good way to bring the family closer. Assigning age appropriate tasks to children such as washing, peeling and chopping vegetables or setting the table gets everyone involved. Having children of all ages helping with the cooking and preparation of meals helps to get them more excited about food and encourages them to try new foods. If a child has helped with the preparation of a new food they are more likely to be excited about it and try it.
Setting the table is not difficult. The plate is the centre of the setting with your cutlery beside it in the order it will be used. The fork is first on the left of the plate. On the right first comes the knife then the spoon. The blade of a knife always faces the plate and a napkin can be placed on the plate or to the left of the fork. You only need to set the table with what you need, if you are not serving soup you do not need a soup spoon. It does not matter what type of glasses you are using they go above the knife and spoon.