The average family dining table will play host to 572 conversations, 1,456 meals and 468 jokes – every year.

A 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.

The research was commissioned by McCain, in line with the wider Nation’s Conversations report, and found more than a quarter described the dining table as the heart of their home.

And three in 10 have the majority of their conversations around it.

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.

Mark Hodge, marketing director at McCain, said: “We know that eating around the table makes mealtimes special and over the years this family moment has been a place for healthy debate, wide ranging conversations and even the odd disagreement.

“Bringing families together at home couldn’t be more important, especially in the midst of the crisis we are facing with Coronavirus.

“It’s therefore no surprise in these unprecedented and challenging times that we’re spending more time together at the table, which has become the epicentre of ‘togetherness’ as a family.”

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.

Traditional rules are still in place as well, including chewing with your mouth closed (37 per cent), no elbows (21 per cent) and asking permission before leaving (23 per cent).

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


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