I am not sure what the big fuss is about eating around the dinner table. Many studies have come out correlating eating dinner with the family to positive outcomes in kids but they do not have much to say about why. We eat dinner around the dinner table anytime there is not a schedule conflict. Some nights may be dominated by tae kwon do practice or the dreaded double-header of tae kwon do and soccer back-to-back. Even in the case of tae kwon do, we still eat at the table, we just have to do it without Daddy. No study is determining why we eat around the table, we do it because I want a chance to enjoy my kids.
We do enjoy our dinners! Not just the food--and thankfully kids tend to like their mom's cooking because they do not know any better--but the things we do. We have a standing topic we discuss which has been talked about here and elsewhere. Once we each finish our "three good things", we have more fun!
My husband's sister sent us a fabulous family present for Christmas this year. She sent us something called "Table Topics Family Edition". It's a great-looking, acrylic cube filled with sturdy cards. Each card has an interesting question on it that everyone at the table can think about and answer. I love these cards for myself especially. Occasionally it will give me a chance to share a story from my own youth that I would not usually talk about.
The kids enjoy these cards so much. They take turns reading the questions and we go around the table and give everyone a chance to give their opinion. Sometimes we continue discussing the topic wondering why someone choose the answer they gave. Other times we move right into another card. They have read the cards with friends even. I actually need to put a stop to the questions so we can clean the table.
Sometimes the kids will surprise me with their opinions. You would think after being a mother three or four times over that I would realize that half of parenting is seeing how your kids develop on their own. I am glad we found this opportunity to get to know each other more than we usually would.