What Are Your Family Dinner "Rules"?

What Are Your Family Dinner "Rules"?

Faith Durand
Jan 6, 2016

When I was growing up, family dinner was a big deal. It was tough to do it every night, especially when my seven younger brothers and sisters (yes, there are eight of us!) were in the thick of soccer season. But when we were all together, family dinner happened, and because our family was so massive, it had rules that ebbed and flowed in importance as we got older — things like, everyone sits down together and says grace before we start eating. You asked to be excused from the table, and — for a short yet memorable period in our family's life — my dad insisted we raised our hands before talking. That didn't last long, but you can't blame him for trying; eight kids make a lot of noise.

Those are some of the classic "rules" for a traditional family, but what about now? Are there rules or habits that preserve your family dinner as a safe and happy space in your own home?

And of course, all sitting together to eat qualifies as family dinner, whether that's you and a girlfriend, you and three toddlers, or you and a cat. When you sit down as a family, what are your most important habits and "rules"? No TV? Only good TV? No phones at the table?

My husband and I don't have many rules; we tend to be really fluid — sometimes we eat in front of our computers and other times we read quietly over dinner. But we usually talk and catch up from our days, and I appreciate that time together whenever we have it.

What about you? What rules and habits are most important in your family dinners?

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