How often does your family sit down together at mealtime? When I was growing up, our family had dinner together almost every evening. Some of my fondest memories involve when we were all gathered around the table laughing and talking. I am trying my best to carry on this tradition with my family, despite our busy schedules. Sitting down together for family meals has so many advantages.

First of all, it a natural time to teach children about table manners. Also, in preparing for our family meals, my children take turns setting the table. In doing this, I have taught them how to prepare a place setting, so they now know on which side of the plate the silverware, napkins, and cups belong! They have also learned that their napkin should be placed in the lap, and that no one eats until everyone else at the table has been served. Most importantly, the children are aware that that they must clean up after themselves after every meal by taking all dirty dishes and silverware to the sink. The family meal also offers an opportunity for family members to talk about their days. I would encourage every family to strive to sit down at least once per day for a family meal.