Let’s get together: Family mealtime increased during the pandemic

Though “social distancing” has been an oft-used phrase during the COVID-19 pandemic, a new study finds that families have actually come closer, spending more time around the dinner table together. 

A study by OnePoll, conducted for Gold Peak Real Brewed Tea, discovered that family dinners in American households are 15 minutes longer than before the pandemic, increasing from 70 minutes to 85 minutes on average. 

Of the more than 2,000 respondents, 57 percent report that their family gathers around the dinner table more frequently than they did pre-pandemic, with as many as five family meals a week. More than half of the people who participated in the study say that the gatherings are the most relaxing part of the day. 

The definition of “family” is also expanding, with many people now counting friends, neighbors and even colleagues among their tribe, with nearly 70 percent of respondents saying that they added a new family member during the pandemic.

Popular activities that take place around the dinner table, in addition to eating, include sharing news, talking about one’s day, and watching a movie or TV show.