What kids want: Family dinners

A story to dine in on: Kids who sit down for family dinners are healthier and smarter
Stuff co.nz 29 July 2018
Family First Comment: Over the weekend, the Sunday Star Times jumped on the bandwagon of our superb report from two days earlier. Read our report instead
https://www.familyfirst.org.nz/2018/07/call-for-public-health-campaign-to-promote-family-dinners/

Most Kiwi families are going in the other direction. We are letting this simple analogue mealtime face-to-face connection slip out of our lives.

A study by independent researcher Sarah Woollett, commissioned and developed by My Food Bag and Stuff, reveals we’re eating at home less often and together less often.

The just-released Family Dinners survey involved 521 children and 630 adults across the country.

It paints a picture of fewer family meals together, of stressed parents working late and out of sync hours to cover for each other, of takeaways and of eyes staring at screens instead of each other. Parents know something is wrong because – in their own words – they feel guilty.

A generation ago three-quarters of children ate dinner with their parents every night. This survey indicates now only 51 per cent of families eat every dinner at home together.

One of the sadder findings is while 96 per cent of children see dinner as a great chance to chat to parents, 79 per cent wish they could have more dinners together as a family.

Reasons why adults wished they could have more dinners at home included mentions of: “quality family time” (32 per cent); “it’s cheaper” (16 per cent); “it’s healthier and more nutritious” (10 per cent); “it’s a chance to catch up” (8 per cent); “it’s better tasting or better food” (7 per cent).
READ MORE: https://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/105584089/A-story-to-dine-in-on-Kids-who-sit-down-for-family-dinners-are-healthier-and-smarter?cid=app-iPhone

Groundbreaking survey of NZ kids reveals disappointment at lack of time with parents
Stuff co.nz 29 July 2018
Kiwi kids are sad they’re not spending time with their parents, according a groundbreaking study of how parents’ lifestyles impact their families.

The just-released Dinners Make Families survey of 521 children and 630 adults reveals 79 per cent of kids wish they could have more dinners together as a family.

While 96 per cent of children surveyed see dinner as a great chance to chat to parents, almost two-third of the children interviewed said their parents are too busy and they wish they had more time together (68 per cent, where both parents work).

​Dinners, cooking, conversations, we’re simply spending less time with our families at home than a generation ago.
READ MORE: https://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/105682721/Groundbreaking-survey-of-NZ-kids-reveals-disappointment-at-lack-of-time-with-parents?cid=app-iPhone

Fewer Kiwi kids using a knife and fork at dinner as families become busier
Stuff co.nz 29 July 2018
According to the 1861 etiquette bible The Book of Household Management, family meals should be planned, served and cooked “with the same cleanliness, neatness, and scrupulous exactness” as a dinner party, and the table set with porcelain and genuine silverware.

“If this rule be strictly adhered to, all will find themselves increase in managing skill; whilst a knowledge of their daily duties will become familiar, and enable them to meet difficult occasions with ease, and overcome any amount of obstacles,” wrote the book’s author, Mrs Isabella Beeton.

Modern etiquette coach Jodi Tempero says although many families no longer have time to regularly launder tablecloths and cloth napkins, having good table manners can be the difference between success and failure at home, at work or with friends.

But new research set to horrify traditionalists has revealed most Kiwi parents don’t require their kids to use cutlery, let alone napkins – even if most are loath to admit it.

Just 47 per cent of 8-to-12-year-olds eat with a knife and fork every night – much fewer than a generation ago, when 65 per cent always used cutlery. That finding is from a big study of 1100 families by independent researcher Sarah Woollett, commissioned and developed by My Food Bag and Stuff.

Only a third of families lay a cloth and set the table, and just 18 per cent are expected to ask permission before leaving the table. That’s if they’re even at the table: increased numbers of kids now eat their evening meal in the kitchen.
READ MORE: https://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/105684412/Fewer-Kiwi-kids-using-a-knife-and-fork-at-dinner-as-families-become-busier?cid=app-iPhone 

We choose swipes, taps and remotes instead of family dinner chat
Stuff co.nz 5 August 2018
If you think family dinners are the last refuge of real conversation and relationships, think again.

The most confronting finding of a national survey on the New Zealand family dinner was how much we are using our devices, phones and TVs while sitting and eating together.

It shows 74 per cent of kids are buried in screens at dinner. And an amazing 83 per cent of their parents are doing the same.

It’s the context of when that is happening that is most surprising – because we all say we want to spend quality time together.

The study by independent researcher Sarah Woollett, commissioned and developed by My Food Bag and Stuff, reveals just 51 per cent of families eat dinner together each night. Three-quarters did so a generation ago.

It also reveals a vast majority of children want more family dinners together and guilt-ridden parents want the same.
READ MORE: https://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/105520766/we-choose-swipes-taps-and-remotes-instead-of-family-dinner-chat

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