Do or Don’t | Assigned seating at family dinner

Last night, the girls lost their minds because they both wanted to sit next to me during dinner. This lovely ego boost was short and sweet, unlike their dramatic tantrums that extended far into our mealtime, resulting in cold burritos. We finally made a deal that we would switch our table positions halfway through dinner so both Harper and Elliot could have a turn sitting next to me. As a super cool bonus, I pointed out, they would both get to sit next to Dad, too! Because Dad is the best! Hey, maybe we could even start calling out for Dad in the middle of the night when we get thirsty!

Growing up, we didn’t have assigned seating at the dinner table but Jim’s family did. I’m starting to see the appeal. Then again, Jim and his sister didn’t fight over seating, but they did fight over who got the green plate. My mom says the only ritual she remembers is the napkin folding competitions my brother and I would have, which I’m sure produced a happy winner and sore loser as sibling competitions often do.

Is this it, parents? Are we doomed to dinner table squabbles regardless?! This is definitely not what I had in mind when I thought of the dinner time rituals we would have as a family. Through their tears we reminded the girls (and ourselves) that they will appreciate these dinners when they grow up, that they will get better (and easier?) with time, and that they are good for us. Jim and I laughed as we clinked glasses and shouted over the deafening noise of sobbing children.

“See?! We’re having a great time!”


“Your day was mediocre?! Mine too! Until now!”


“Family dinners are my favorite! The best part of my day is right now!”




“Right now!”

What about you? Do you have assigned seating? Or does your family have any rituals that are unique or special, even for basic weeknight dinner? I’d love to hear.

[Image: Apartment Therapy]






3 thoughts on “Do or Don’t | Assigned seating at family dinner

  1. OMG. We totally have assigned seats. I had never really thought about it, but we do. The kids places are defined by their Stokke chairs and J and I always sit in the same spots, too. It just works because no one wonders where to go. We have a round table, so I sat between the kids for a long time. Then they wanted to sit closer? Maybe? I don’t know. But it seems to be working still. Sigh. Family dinner can be such hell. Hang in there!


  2. We have this problem on a regular basis. We don’t do assigned seating…especially because of our work schedules, the adult that is home rotates. Ugh.


  3. I’m crying over the dialogue at the end. Assigned seats AND assigned table setting jobs! Like any great mom(wife–lol) I tricked them into thinking THEY chose. 😬


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