A Family Experiment

Our family is trying something new. It all started with me watching Downton Abbey and noticing that the family continuously ate dinner at 8:00 PM. Now, I have often heard of people going on dates beginning at 8:00 PM, but to eat at 8:00 PM on a regular basis seemed rather late. So I decided to do a Google search. And as it turns out, most European countries eat quite a bit later than us Americans. With the exception of a very few amount of European nations, most countries eat dinner no earlier than 7:00 PM. And countries like Spain won’t eat until at least nine, and Portugal tends to eat–it seems–around 10:00 PM.

As I did my research, I came across a discussion board and within that thread I found some comments from one British lady. She made the observation that in most European countries dinner closes the day, while in America dinner is simply an interruption. She observed that a dinner in a European nation could last an hour or more, but in America they tend to last 15 to 20 minutes. And that is exactly how much time my family spends at dinner.

So last week, very hesitantly, I brought up the idea of eating dinner at 8:00. The family, hesitantly, agreed to try it out for a month. We are now on day five. While it has taken a little bit of adjustment and getting used to, it seems to be working out pretty well. Katie and I will have a teatime at 5:00 in which she will drink decaf coffee and I will drink hot tea we’ll enjoy a snack together. We get to talk about our days. The kids will simply just grab a snack and keep playing with friends or reading or doing whatever it is that they are doing at the moment. At this point, it seems rather relaxing, but we have not had to take two of our children to guitar as this week they’ve had a break. While we do expect some minor adjustments, overall this might be something that we keep.

Last night, we asked the children what they thought of the new 8:000 dinner time. All but one agreed that it is working out and is better than the 6:00 time. It really does feel like the end of the day. I mentioned it was like putting a period at the end of the day, and my son replied “Yeah. Instead of a comma.”

So how about you? What time do you eat dinner? Would you be willing to try an 8 o’clock dinner time? Let me know your thoughts by commenting below.

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