In an ideal world, mum or dad would arrive home from work on the dot of 5pm and they and the kids would all sit around the dinner table to discuss how their days went while eating their meat and two veg.
The reality, though, is very different. When our children get home from school at 4pm, they want their tea – and they want it NOW. When we or our partners, or both, get home from work it's knocking on for 7pm, by which time the kids are either ready for bed or chatting to their mates on Facebook.
So it's no surprise to read the results of the latest survey that condemns us busy family folk to hell by revealing that less than half of us sit down at the dinner table together at mealtimes.
Yes, of course, it would be lovely. But, really, who has time? Or the inclination?
Today's study says that only 49 of parents eat at the same table as their children a maximum of twice a week.
The abandoning of the dinner table is being put down to a growing number of people eating while watching TV, with researchers calling for a 'dinner table revival'.
Simon Furzey of the furniture company Metrofurniture.co.uk, which conducted the survey said: "While these concerns have been around for years, today the family mealtime faces a three-pronged attack from television, technology and relentless work schedules.
"The distracted mealtime has been linked with overeating. It is easy to scoff down a meal in front of the TV without thinking about what you are eating or realising when you are full.
"We would like to see a 'dinner table revival' where parents turn off the TV and move mealtimes away from the couch. Watching their parents' behaviour at the dinner table is a great way for children to learn good manners and communication skills.
"We would like to see more families keeping technology away from the table and having real conversations. We understand that work schedules can make the family mealtime more difficult.
"But where possible, build time into your routine to eat together and treat it as important as any work engagement."
Well, Mr Furzey, good luck with that!
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