Gone, it seems, are the days of Leave It To Beaver and The Brady Bunch, where mom and dad sit down with the kids for a family dinner and everyone talks about their day.
According to a survey of 2,500 U.K. parents, a third of them sit “in complete silence” while eating dinner.
What’s more, four in 10 parents don’t even eat dinner at the same time as their children on most days — and one in ten parents never do.
The poll, commissioned by the Mexican food company Old El Paso, noted that it’s not just cellphones at the table that are stifling dinner chat — although 44% say that does happen.
Instead, as many as three in ten don’t know what to talk to their kids about. More than one in five said they’d rather watch TV and eat, rather than interact with their kids at chow time.
“To get the most out of family mealtimes, the table needs to be filled with the happy noise of conversation, chat and laughter,” comments psychologist Dr. Linda Papadopoulos in a statement.
“The more we engage, the closer and more connected we feel to each other,” she adds. “And children need to be part of this as it’s a vital part of developing their social skills. There is something truly wonderful about the happy sounds produced by a vibrant family meal.”