She warns that not spending time eating as a family could be harmful to family relationships and your children's wellbeing
TV presenter Kirstie Allsopp was speaking at the Cheltenham Literature Festival when the subject turned to family mealtimes. Asked by an audience member about her thoughts on dining tables and their decline, Kirstie said: ‘I think it’s dangerous. Genuinely, I can’t overstress that,’ The Telegraph reports.
She warned that shunning meals at the dining table could be detrimental to wellbeing, especially for teenagers who are increasingly affected by mental health issues.
‘There’s a lot of research showing sitting down as a family, talking about things, and taking the time to do that together, is incredibly important.’
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Kirstie has seen her fair share of British homes over the years while working as a presenter on property television shows including Location, Location, Location.
She reflected upon why fewer and fewer homes now have dining tables: ‘One of the reasons it’s happening is that modern homes are smaller. They get smaller and smaller and smaller and it’s awful.’
‘You have a situation where you have all these homes with bedrooms with en suite bathrooms, but no tables. You don’t learn to share anything, you don’t learn to have a communal space, you never sit around the table together.’
Her comments follow a recent report that revealed that only half of Brits consider a dining room a necessity these days, with just under 50 per cent often eating meals in front of the TV. The same report also disclosed that a quarter of people only use their dining room on special occasions, and that it is commonly used as a storage room instead.
Read more: Is the dining room a thing of the past?
Earlier in the festival, Mary Berry disclosed that she has moved to a house without a dining room. Instead she has a dining table in the kitchen so that the cook is not isolated.
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Kirstie agreed that the rise in popularity of having a dining table in the kitchen is positive, as the cook can interact with the rest of the family. ‘That has been a brilliant thing,’ she says. ‘But if the dining room is replaced by something that isn’t a dining table, then that is a real loss.’