Many households struggle in today’s hectic world to sit down and have dinner together and, according to a UCLA study, when they do, it’s typically done in the kitchen instead of the dining room. Take a look at the diagram below where the red dots are the position of a family member every 10 minutes.

A diagram from the 2012 U.C.L.A. anthropological study, “Life at Home in the 21st Century.” The red dots indicate the positions of family members every 10 minutes in a California home. Credit Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Press, U.C.L.A.

After seeing this diagram I started thinking about my own family and how we typically move about our home and where we are when we are together. It matched the pattern almost perfectly and what really stuck out to me is the kitchen island. We’ve grown accustomed to eating there, and save the dining room for holidays and other special occasions. The main reason for this is we didn’t want to mess it up and have kids spill stuff everywhere as they are known to do.

It reminds me a lot of my late grandma who bought a new couch in the 80’s and put a blanket over it to “keep it looking good”, instead of enjoying it. After 30 years it still looked good, but it was out of style and worthless.

Since reading this and thinking about it, we’ve made an effort to have every dinner together in the dining room 1. The side effects have been great, we’ve had better conversation, we don’t feel as rushed, and it prevents others from getting up and cleaning before everyone is ready.


  1. When sharing posts like this I feel like I always need to clarify that I am luckier than most with my job. I work from home which makes it easy for us to have time for things like this. I know many don’t have this luxury.  ↩︎

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