I love family traditions, and we have plenty here in this family usually centred around celebrations like Easter and Christmas. I believe daily traditions are important as well - maybe even more so.
Eating dinner together at the table is one tradition I grew up with that I try to continue with my own family. I say "try" because with after school activities, an 18 year old who is often out and a husband who works crazy hours, it doesn't always work out, but we try.
Friday night is always Family night and we don't have dinner till everybody is home.
Researcher Becky Hand believes that eating dinner together at least 4 nights a week has many benefits for children of all ages.
Children learn to communicate with each other and their parents and eating together fosters a feeling of security and belonging that few other activities do.
Meal times are a chance to model table manners and dining ettiquette.
Dinner time can also be a learning experience. Introducing new foods and then talking about their origins encourages children to learn about the wider world. For example,fellow blogger Libby Whitnall has been cooking some Canadian dishes at the moment to coincide with the Winter Olympics.
And finally, Hand (2008) found that children who ate dinner with their families had a higher academic performance than those who didn't.
For all of these reasons and the most important one to me (LOL) - using my vintage linen and crockery, we set the table each night regardless of who actually is here to sit down.
I wonder if this is a dying tradition though?