We truly believe that in order to have a strong presence in any community you first need to be a strong family.
In today's society there are many different dynamics that make up a family unit but one thing has remained the same. The location of the dining table. What has changed is how often it is used.
We make a point to eat as a family every night. When I was working we tried to do this but honestly it just didn't happen very often. As much as I love all of the other experiences I get to have staying home with the kids, this one by far is my favorite.
Not only are my toddlers learning table manners at a very young age but we are also developing a habit that will carry through into their teenage years. It is much easier to get a two year old to have a meal with you than trying to convince a 15 year old that they need to not eat in their room.
The kids help me set the table. I prep and cook dinner before AJ gets home. The TV goes off and music comes on. We get to talk about every one's day AND as a bonus I have found the kids are much more likely to try something new if they see mommy and daddy eating it.
When AJ has to work late the kids and I still sit down and eat. Daddy's place is still set and we fix him a plate and cover it with foil. When he gets home I sit down with him while he eats and more often than not the kids join us.
I know that because of life schedules it may not be possible for a "family meal" for everyone every night but what ever you can work out, try it!
I probably sound like a PSA for eating together and maybe I am. Right now, it is my favorite thing we do as a family and it costs us nothing.
I suppose I will check back in with you guys in about 13 years when the kids are 15 and see what they think. In between football practice, cheer squad and boyfriend/girlfriends I am hoping they will still have time for me and our "tradition". ;)