Eating at the Dinner Table is something most families do right? They sit together and chat about their day and they plan for the rest of the week. They get things off their chests, talk about their worries, have a laugh and enjoy good food in the company of each other.
Well until recently my family weren't doing this, we were eating in front of the TV with our meals on our laps and Boris sat in splendid isolation in the highchair, strategically angled away from the TV in the vain hope that he might not watch it, when in reality he was straining his neck to get a better look!
For ages I had been planning on sorting out the dining table which had been pushed against the wall and predominantly used as a desk for my husbands computer and a space for clutter to accumulate, but I never could quite muster up the motivation to clear it of all the detritus and pull it out. Until a few weeks ago that is, when Boris was asleep and I had a rare moment of energy to sort out the mess and get the table out. We have been eating at it for nearly every meal ever since and it is so much better.
My husband and I actually have conversations! (I know, shocking!) It was tricky at first, if I am honest the first few meals involved a bit of bickering, some awkward feeling silent moments, but we are getting used to talking and eating together now and the conversations are flowing.
I am also finding that we are watching far less TV. Often the TV would go on a every single meal but now we are eating at the table it doesn't go on at all during the day. Yes, we are eating Breakfast, lunch AND dinner at the table. I actually find it really relaxing and often read a book if it is just me and Boris, the lack of noise pollution that emanates from the box is very calming and helps me to think straighter. It must be beneficial for Boris too, to see us eating and talking together, he will learn about how people communicate, eat politely and he will also benefit from the peace to allow his inner voice to speak. Actually his outer voice has become quite entertaining around dinner times now too, especially since his highchair is next to the mirror, he has lots of conversations with himself as well as us!
At first I found it really strange not having the TV on when I was eating, it felt like there was something missing, or that I was missing out on something. I almost felt like I wasn't enjoying my food as much without being visually entertained, but that feeling has gone and I really do relish the peace and chance to connect with my husband and little boy.
There are also the health benefits that come with eating at a table. We are much more aware of what we are putting into our mouths and in theory should be eating less as we are more able to concentrate on what we are doing. There is also the digestive benefits in sitting at a table instead of hunched over on a squashy sofa.
Then there are the myriad psychological benefits from watching less television from a reduction in stress levels to greater sense of self-esteem. (Read Remotely Controlled by Aric Sigman for more on the benefits of not watching TV)
So the move from sofa to table was, all-in-all a good move and something I am now totally used to. I hope we contine this good habit for many many years to come as we watch our family grow. I look forward to all the conversations we will have round a table, the laughs we will share and the connections we will make with each other.
Do you eat at a dinner table? What do you love most about it?