Dinnertime: A Seating Plan and Surveillance

rustic farm table

Click this beautiful image to purchase it from Keith Dotson.

Lilith's drawing

Thing 2 made a seating chart with plates and silverware drawn in.

We talked about making a family resolution a month ago…I suggested we start eating at the dining room table.

We usually eat in the living room, but now we have a tween in the house, he’s been squirreling away alone.  I didn’t like it, but it seemed like a harmless way to let him have some independence.

So I broached the idea tentatively.

And they surprised me.

I came home in the dark after working one Sunday at the swish boutique that carries my crocheted items.  Thing 2, age 7, was scurrying around in an apron setting the (newly cleaned off) dining room table.

She had drawn a seating plan, and had taped to the table pieces of scrap paper with our names written on them.

It wasn’t January yet!

We’ve eaten at the table every night but two, and we all seem to enjoy it.  My more traditional neighbor always sang the family meal’s praises.  She did it her kids’ entire lives, and still hosts the whole family plus a son-in-law every Sunday.  I continue to be surprised at the immediate change it made for us.  Everyone comes to the table, we talk, tell about our day, laugh, get antsy, do dishes together, and more.  And the “more” is this — I think my cake-eater eats more of his healthy dinner this way!  It could be because Mother Is Watching, or it could be that it has turned dinner into a more social affair.  I’m pleasantly surprised, and most of all because they actually did it without me!  Try it at your house and let me know how it goes.  Or tell me how to mix it up after the novelty has worn off.  And if you want the lo-down on inspired ways to feed those finicky kids, get my free 20-minute talk HERE.



12 thoughts on “Dinnertime: A Seating Plan and Surveillance

  1. Growing up in an Italian household,( my great grandparents were immigrants) eating at the dining room has been a tradition that has held firm for three generations. I wouldn’t think of letting it go, and now that my kids are grown, they are carrying it on with their kids as well. The bonds that are formed around a dining room table are a powerful magic called love and trust. I wish everyone would bring this tradition back.


  2. Yeah, I can see that. Our pattern was set up from our long commute out of the city. After 40 minutes in the car together, we all needed to scatter! Ha ha We’re not commuting any more. Also, now the kids are old enough to help, and that makes a great difference! Thanks for reading, Wendi!


  3. Wow, Angela, I’m impressed by how your dining room table meal venture unfolded. Sounds like so much fun. Some of my fondest memories happened around the kitchen or dining room table growing up. The times when we lingered after a meal and talked for hours on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. Also remembering how we cleared up and did the dishes afterwards together. Although my sisters and I sometimes quarrelled over who would wash or dry, looking back, those were good moments! 🙂 Thanks for your article!


    • I know, little Thing 2 TOOK CONTROL! Ha ha. I love hearing about other folks’ time around the table, too. Thanks for reading and sharing! xx Angela p.s. there IS lots of quarelling over washing and drying! why? I just don’t understand it, haha.


    • Thank you, thank you. I agree, “especially laughter” — I feel strongly that one of the most important things I can give my kids is the ability to find humor in a situation. Thing 1 in particular is so serious, it’s great to see them laugh around the table, even if it IS at dad’s ridiculous teenager humor, haha.


  4. I’m SMILING over here picturing this happen. Maybe, just maybe, you’ll inspire to get off the couch and eat at my dining table.


    • I’m not good at “monotasking” (just made that up, haha), but I think focusing on food by sitting at the table helps us with our gratitude. We’ve skipped a couple of nights, and I’m cool with that, but I like that we do it more often than not. One day I hope you and Thing 2 meet. You’d like each other! 🙂


  5. We always eat in the kitchenette right off the kitchen, except on special occasions. It’s just so much easier for me as the chef to move food and plates 6 feet instead of 20. I’m not the “Funner Mother.” I’m the “Lazier Mother.” LOL! Thanks for sharing your adventure in dining rm seating!


    • oh honey, if we had a kitchenette I’d use that too! haha. We are no longer consistent sitting at the dining room table, but it’s so much better than huddled around the tv! You’re just great! Thanks for reading and weighing in. xx Angela


  6. Oh, yes yes yes! I can’t imagine not having family dinners at least most of the nights out of the week. We always ate together as a family when I was growing up, and I’m so glad we did this with my sons as well. They are now 15 and 17, and I love that we all sit down together most evenings out of the week (we miss a night occasionally, when I don’t cook and we all just “scavenge” leftovers, as my youngest calls it!) I like the idea of continuing with a family dinner one night a week after they are grown… I am already worried about missing them when they move out on their own, so I’m making a mental note of this idea!

    Liked by 1 person

    • We do still fall down in the living room sometimes — that dining room table currently has my sewing machine on it! — so we certainly won’t be taking our dining room dinners for granted. I’ve added candles, which entice the kids (8 and 11), and they love blowing them out at the end, sigh. They love it too much. haha. Thanks, Karen. xx Angela


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