Learn English – Watching TV while eating

Today, I talk about how I grew up eating dinner and the times we did watch TV. Then I share what it was like with our children. And now, since it’s just the two of us, what we do when we eat dinner.


Do you ever watch TV while you eat dinner or watch something on your screen while you eat? Is that a good habit? What do you think?

(Intro: English without Fear where you can learn to speak English naturally, through listening to stories.)

There were two times when I was a child that we watched TV while eating dinner. The first time was when I was 12 and my dad was off for a year with the army, fighting in Vietnam. And my mother and grandmother and I were together, and every night we would watch the TV news while eating dinner. But after a while, my mom said: “No more watching TV while we eat!”  The news was always bad about the war. And she didn’t think that was good for eating. So, we stopped. 

The next time we ate dinner and watched TV, (it was always the news), was when I was 16. And I think my dad enjoyed that. But again, after a while, my mom said, “No more watching TV while we eat. We’re going to sit at the dining room table and talk.” And so we did. 

When Mike and I got married, we always talked. We’re big talkers.

We would discuss ideas and have great discussions. And then when each of our two sons was born, we continued the same tradition. We never watched TV while eating dinner. We always talked around the table.

What would we talk about? Well, you know –  how the day was:  school…. work…. activities with friends… problems, that kind of thing. And often Mike, who reads a lot and thinks a lot, he would lead discussions about ideas, either philosophical ideas and reasoning or ideas about how things work.

He’s a good teacher. He always was creative and explaining things well to the boys, no matter what their age, ages were. So, dinner time was very interesting. And both our sons grew up knowing how to talk about ideas. They also learned how to talk about feelings because their dad Mike, my husband, is very good about expressing feelings. And today, these sons do the same with their families.

When would we eat dinner? Well, when I was growing up, it was always at 6:30 in the evening. But with our own boys, because they were involved with lots of activities and sports, we did not have a fixed or set dinner time. We came home from activities, from sports, and fixed dinner and ate, whatever time it was.

So, I think that’s a good habit. I see the fruit of that habit. What does that mean to see the fruit of something? When you spend time doing something and forming a habit, that’s a good habit,  week after week, month after month, it produces fruit. Our boys today, remember times around the table.

Often, their friends would stay for dinner, especially on the weekends. They would be playing or hanging out. And I always cooked more. And I would say, “John or David, do you want to stay for dinner? We’ve got plenty.” And they would. And these friends would join in our table discussions, our table talk.

Well, now both of our sons are married with their own kids. So, it’s just us. Do we still sit around the table and talk? No, we don’t anymore. We have a new tradition. What we do is we talk a lot during dinner preparation. And that takes about an hour. I cook a lot, these days.  I cook healthy food and we talk, catch up on the day. But when we sit down to eat, we sit on the sofa in front of the TV and watch part of a movie.

It takes us about 25 minutes to eat our dinner slowly. And so, every night we watch 25 minutes of a movie or a series, like on Netflix. At first, we didn’t tell our sons that we were watching a show while eating dinner, but I think we felt guilty, but now they know, and we don’t feel guilty because we talk during the dinner preparation time.

Well, what about you? What do you do? What do you do when you’re with family and what do you do when you’re alone? When I’m alone, I prefer reading while I eat dinner. But Mike will probably watch something while eating dinner, if he’s alone in the house.

Tell me what you think. Is it good to watch something on a screen while you eat dinner? Is it okay sometimes? Never? All the time? Leave me a comment below this video. And remember, if you would like the written words, a transcript to today’s episode, just go to my website, www.englishwithoutfear.com. Well, this is Maria from English without Fear. Talk to you next time.

(Outro: Thanks for watching. For questions or comments, here’s my email.)

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