“Why I will always enforce family dinner.”

Thanks to our brand partner, MasterFoods

Is it just me, or is time speeding up? I mean seriously, wasn’t it 2015 just a few blinks ago? Increasingly, our days are a blur of checking things off, driving here and there, meeting demands from work, being there for our kids and trying to squeeze in a moment of connection with our partner – not to mention emails, school forms, daily dramas… It doesn’t feel like life will slow down any time soon.

But in the midst of this hectic, everyday life, there’s one thing I’ve come to swear by. That we stop, take a beat and have a family meal together at the dinner table. Every. Single. Day.

Over the years, it’s changed from something that seemed too hard to orchestrate every night, to simply becoming a non-negotiable routine. It’s amazing what can happen when everyone has a role, from setting the table to laying out the spread, and it’s clear what the expectations are. No phones, no getting up to do other things, no need to rush.

It’s become our anchor point in the day, a vital connection. And there are so many benefits I’ve noticed from making this one simple change, despite things being as busy as ever.

Masterfoods knows that dinner is so much more than what is on the plate. Their Let’s Make Dinner Time Matter campaign is encouraging and inspiring all Aussies to step back from the busy lives we all lead and prioritise connecting around the table with the people that matter most. And this moving video will do just that.

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As my daughter fast approaches her teens, her reluctance to answer straight up questions such as, “How was your day, honey?” has increased to the point of mild resistance. But it’s all about timing. Ask her how school was when she first walks in the door, and at best she’ll mumble good; at worst raise an eyebrow.

But at the dinner table, I find she eventually warms up without the focus being on that kind of question. The chatter begins and before she knows it, she’s telling a story, something funny that happened in class or the goofy thing the science teacher did today, and I will look at my husband and smile. She’s answered my earlier question without meaning to. Win. These are often the only times I hear about who’s in what class, which teacher is cool and who sets too much homework.

Closeup cropped image of a couple holding hands across a table filled with food
“It’s become our anchor point in the day, a vital connection. ” Image: iStock.

It’s in these moments that I feel I’ve been able to keep the door open to her world as it continuously changes and evolves. Even if it’s just ajar, the connection is there. It’s over dinner that we chat about how some of the local kids at schools in the area have Instagram followings of one or two thousand, and we discuss the pressures this must put on them, and how body image is so ‘in your face’ for her generation.

We talk about how parties at night will be the norm soon, and what kind of party she’d like to have, and what the rules might be. We talk about the ups and downs of her tight friendship circle, and how miscommunications sometimes happen over messenger apps. I tell her that when I was her age, I had to speak to my friend’s parents every time I rang their house to talk them. She can’t believe that.

importance of family dinner
“It’s in these moments that I feel I’ve been able to keep the door open to her world as it continuously changes and evolves.” Image via iStock.

After a recent holiday in Vietnam, we all talked about our favourite things about the holiday. What my daughter said gave me an insight into just how beautifully she was growing up. When we’d witnessed children begging at the hands of adults they were in the care of, she told me she didn’t realise how many different versions of life there were. I think it was her way of saying she didn’t realise how lucky she was.

At the dinner table, there are no emails, no to-do Lists, no organising. It’s not the time to make appointments or remember forgotten tasks. Because of the prevalence of technology now, demands are always encroaching on our minds. But the dinner table is an oasis of time for us. Once the plates are down and meal is served, it’s just a time to appreciate our meal, relax and enjoy each other’s company. With the way time keeps ticking along, I’m appreciating it while I still can.

Who will you #MakeDinnertimeMatter with tonight?