Growing up dining as a family

October 18th, 2016 by Live Well Omaha Kids

Written by Courtney Brewer, Communications Coordinator, Live Well Omaha 

img_7571When I was growing up, we sat at the dinner table and ate together. With a family of six, life could get chaotic with sports, activities, meetings, jobs, friends, etc. But we still had dinner together. We all sat at the table without the distraction of television (until Simpsons came along), we passed dishes around the table, we ate our vegetables, we drank our milk, we talked. There was no other way.

I’ve come to realize, that what happened at mealtime in my childhood home may not be the norm in every household. Technology has taken over our lives, including while we’re eating. It’s really easy to pick up take-out or just grab a bite at a restaurant nearby (because they’re everywhere). Families may not be home at the same time, so everyone just does their own thing, eating what they want.

Now that I have a family of my own, I’m experiencing this struggle first-hand and realize how much I took family dining for granted growing up. Every weekday I leave work, pick up the kids and head home to make dinner one-handed, while I fend off the kids from grabbing snacks from the cupboards with the other. Then we corral our 7-year-old and 2.5-year-old twins to sit down at the table, answering their “What are we having?” and “Why can’t I drink pop at dinner?” questions while wrestling the tablet out of their hands. They may not love what’s in front of them every time, but they’ll usually try it or wear it — which I’ve come to learn is the most I can ask for.

I’ll admit, our family dining experience isn’t a bouquet of roses every day. We try to plan out our week of meals and shop ahead of time. We try to make beautiful dishes from recipes found on Pinterest. We try to throw some meals in the crockpot so it’s ready when we get home. We try to turn off the TV or stash our cell phones away so we’re setting a good example. Does it happen every day? No. But we make an effort to try most days: That’s what matters. The benefits of family dining are real.

During the fourth annual Omaha Family Dining week, I encourage you to read about the benefits of dining together as a family and Pledge yourself, to cook and eat together more at home. Whether you want to shoot for one more day a week or five, it doesn’t matter. Making an effort to try is what matters because it DOES make a difference and your kids WILL remember it someday.


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