It’s no surprise that, according to research by Dolmio, 88% of British parents agree that dinner time is one of the best opportunities for quality time as a family.
Right from the moment Ted was born, we made a conscious decision that we wanted to try and eat as a family around the table for all of our meals, or as close to that as possible. No-one can deny that it is a great opportunity to speak to one another, which, let’s face it, is becoming harder and harder to do in this 100mph society we live in.
The research, however, also shows that quality time is diminishing due to dinner time dramas!
I can understand this. Right from the moment I call up the stairs or out into the garden that dinner is ready and the kids need to wash their hands and come to the table, it can be an uphill struggle. My record must be nearly 10 times of asking them to come and sit down!
Apparently, the average parent calls their children to the table a whopping 1500+ times a year! That’s nearly 5 times a day! (Which definitely means I’m not alone when I call the kids to the table and get no response what so ever!)
Living with a 13 year old with dyspraxia presents a whole new level of drama at the dinner table. It can get messy. (Hence why we’ve resorted to an old dining table with no table cloth!)
Louis’ body doesn’t work in the same way as other teenagers; he can’t judge distances or spaces as well and consequently, spillages are common place at our table. Drinks, sauces, gravy’s, veg, salt, pepper… you name it, he’ll spill it.
We’ve resorted to glasses with lids & straws!
Ted however, brings a whole new level of drama to the dinner table. It could be that he can’t decide where to sit. Or maybe he just wants to sit on a pile of pillows. Sometimes he’ll decide that, despite asking for that certain meal, he now doesn’t want it.
But by far, the biggest drama, is when he wants the food from my plate! “All mine!” He’ll say as he swipes what he can from my plate of food.
There’s a famous scene from the American SitCom, Friends, where Joey declares to his latest girlfriend that “JOEY DOESN’T SHARE FOOD.” A man after my own heart as I like my food and even though it’s my own child taking it, I can’t help but find it slightly annoying!
Obviously, I play the ‘parent’ role and let him take it because him eating is far more important than me eating… (especially since gaining this dadbod!)
However, one thing that we try to do is make sure that, at the very least, the food is not the cause of the drama and we do that by preparing one of the kids’ all time favourites; Spag Bol.
You can’t beat it.
Especially when you use a Dolmio Bolognese sauce. Not only does it make the cooking drama free, but a 125g portion also goes towards one of the children’s 5 a day.
This family favourite ensures clean plates (not necessarily a clean table with Louis and Teddy around though…) and also goes a long way to helping reduce the dinner time dramas!
When they’re eating something they love and involved with the cooking, they tend to eat much better as well. And if they feel content in their tummies, it means they’re more likely to relax and prepare to sleep more calmly.
For Louis, it also means he’s in a better frame of mind to tackle his homework! Which is certainly one drama we could all do without!
Family meal times are the most important times of our day. We sit together, we talk, we laugh and we catch up without interruptions. Our family life may be hectic but family meal times, all together around the dining table are something that we all prioritise, making them special, enjoyable times for us all.