How the dining room table changed forever
On Monday 23rd March 2020, the day after Mother’s Day, the dining room table in the UK changed forever.
The average family dining table will play host to 572 conversations, 1,456 meals and 468 jokes – every year.
Research commissioned by McCain, in line with the wider Nation’s Conversations report, found more than a quarter described the dining table as the heart of their home.
The study of 1,000 parents revealed a further 57 disagreements are had at the dinner table while 72 special moments are shared annually.
It also emerged that half of parents think it is important for their brood to sit together at the end of a day.
Since the UK lockdown begun the role of the average dinning room table had changed considerably.
On Mother’s Day families around the country sat around their dinning room table contemplating how home schooling, working from home and social distancing will change their lives.
Conversations turned to plans and strategies to organise the new normal of home schooling, Zoom meetings and keeping in touch with family and friends.
One thing was clear, a mild sense of normality needed to be kept in place.
Rules including chewing with your mouth closed (37 per cent), no elbows (21 per cent) and asking permission before leaving (23 per cent) are still being enforced.
The new dinning room table
With people currently spending more time at home, the dining table is being used for an average of 28 hours a week and now serves as a classroom (37 per cent) and a workspace for parents (28 per cent).
A further two in five even have it as a place for doing crafts, while a third play board games and 28 per cent use it to fold washing.
Other unusual table functions include using it as a dog bed, a dance podium and as an exercise bench.
The research also found 44 per cent of families are eating more meals together than ever before due to everyone being home.
As a result, 36 per cent feel closer to their relatives and 32 per cent believe they are kinder to one another.
The most popular topic of conversation for families around the dinner table at the moment is TV shows and films, followed by home-schooling and playing games.
A fifth of children have wanted to discuss the NHS with their parents and 26 per cent have asked why they can’t see their friends.
Almost a third of mums and dads also said they are having more in-depth conversations during lockdown, but 14 per cent admitted they have struggled to convey certain topics, including Coronavirus.
It also emerged 63 per cent of those polled, via OnePoll, feel they would struggle without the table.
But in order to keep a life balance, a third remove all work-related things before sitting down for dinner.
Almost half of parents have the rule of no mobile phones at dinner time, while an eighth try to avoid talking about work and two in five do not allow video games.
Top uses of the dining table during lockdown
1. Children’s classroom
2. Lunch break table
3. Parent’s workspace
4. The place to play games
5. Partner’s workspace
6. A place to have video calls
7. A place to bake
8. The place to catch up with friends via calls/video
9. The place to stream live online school lessons
10. The place to stream live workouts
My dinning room table
I’ve always been proud of the fact that for many years I did not have a desktop computer at home. This allowed me to work more efficiently at the studio and meant that when I was home I was able to switch off from work and concentrate on family life. As someone who owns their own company this is the dream of work life balance that people seldom achieve.
The lockdown changed all that. Whilst I cannot work as photographer from home I still have to comply with the statutory duties as a company Director.
I also need a computer to assist with my daughter’s school work and there’s my own personal projects to work on.
Creative photography for kids
Along with becoming a home office, home classroom and video chat hub my dinning room table is now the home for experimental photography.
My personal project Creative Photography For Kids began as an addition to home schooling with my daughter. It has now evolved into a series of articles that all parents can embrace with their children.
If you’d like to join our journey begin with Daily creative photography for kids week 1
New uses for my living room table
Along with being a classroom and a home office our dinning room table has embraced some other interesting uses.
Are there any interesting uses your dinning room table has taken on during lockdown?