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Lynda Loveland: To eat or not to eat ... together

Posted October 13, 2010 8:28 p.m. EDT

Lynda Loveland

It’s been pounded into my brain since I was pregnant, looking at parenting magazines. Come heck or high water, everyone sat down together at dinner. So that’s what we do at my house, like it or not. And a lot of times, there’s not a whole lotta like, even from me.

It’s slowly getting better, but it was rough for a while. My three kids are all less than two years apart, so for a while there, it always seemed like there was someone in a high chair. Someone was always throwing a fit because they didn’t like the food or they wanted more milk or they spilled the milk. I was up, I was down, both mentally and physically

Rarely did I, or do I, stay seated for a whole meal. But I do it, family meals, because we’re supposed to.

Recently I read an article by family psychologist John Rosemond that kinda opened my eyes. He says when kids are young, feed them first and get all the crankiness, messiness and general unfun-ness out of the way first.

THEN, the rest of the family should sit down and have a nice, relaxing dinner. Because if you think about it, all the focus is on the child who won’t eat or throws their food. My three-year-old is still in the “un-fun at dinner” category. In my house, relaxing and dinner do not share a sentence. My husband and I have started doing this un-family dinner, when we can, on Friday nights. The kids get an easy, kid-friendly dinner and run off to play. Then we get steak or whatever the heck we want!

I must say, I’ve been enjoying actually tasting my food and sipping my wine. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m totally for family dinners when the kids have some age on them. But are they really going to be mentally scarred at two if we don’t all sit down together? A peaceful dinner goes a long way…

Lynda is the mom of three and co-host of Mix 101.5 WRAL-FM's Bill & Lynda in the Morning. Find her here on Thursdays.