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Family 411: Family Dinner Time
DAYTON -- We hope you enjoyed time with your family over a great Thanksgiving dinner. How unusual was that time together? Is family dinner at your house a thing of the past? We sat down with four busy moms to find out what that looks like in America these days.
Here is some of that conversation with Darcy Plunkett, Annette White, Michelle Schoen and Regina Menza.
DARCY: Kids have places to be, homework projects.
ANNETTE: Their schedules change with the seasons and sports.
MICHELE: For me it's juggling.
REGINA: We tend to go shopping on Sunday or try to fit it in at 10 p.m. on a Friday night.
Family dinner these days varies as much as families.
MICHELE: Something we've always done. When my son was a baby in the bouncy seat, we'd put the bouncy seat on the table with us.
ANNETTE: We say grace before dinner, and that's our chance to reconvene.
DARCY: We only have one night a week where we eat as a family. We eat in here. It's more of an event.
REGINA: (We talk about) What happened at school. We try to keep it positive.
There are rules.
DARCY: I'm not a short order cook.
REGINA: In terms of new food choices, we try to have them take two bites before they turn it away.
MICHELE: My kids have chores, setting the table, cleaning the table.
And there are challenges.
MICHELE: The boys try to make noises and say rude things.
ANNETTE: Sometimes someone's crabby, and we say God wants to hear from you! And the heads go down.
DARCY: I feel like I'm under the gun.
REGINA: Because it's such a limited time you're thinking about all the things you have to do that evening, it's a roller coaster of getting prepared.
We asked if things come up, like problems at school? They all answered yes.
DARCY: It feels more casual, so it's like you're creating this environment for disclosure.
And though there are lots of studies about family dinner
SHEILA GRAY: Childhood obesity is less if you have dinner, kids might have less mental stress, less likely to try drugs or smoking, alcohol - do you find any credence in any of that? They all nodded and said yes.
These moms say family dinner is really about love.
REGINA: It's sort of a ritual that, hey it's really important that we're all here together.
ANNETTE: I have a son who's a junior, and I have one year 'til he's out of the house, and I want to cherish every minute.
DARCY: I feel the kids know, to me it's like an extension of love.
MICHELE: Just the knowing that family is there to fall back on, and you have that as a constant.
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