As Christians, we are about raising up our children to be good Christians as well. Part of this process is in developing communication skills, and socialising. It seems and others are in agreement with me that mealtimes should be the main time for socialising, for finding out what is going on with your kids and to plan activities.
Of course with all out busyness and schedules and what not this can be very difficult, but if possible it is good to try and have two meals a day with family. Impossible you cry. When we were in Danli, Honduras, we had 5 kids in three diferent schools, with three different schedules, yet managed to have breakfast and dinner together every day. It is just wanting to do it enough, and being willing to sacrifice other things. The trick is to mark out those mealtimes as necessary and work around them, instead of putting everything else as necessary. So if God is first then everything should be arranged around prayer times and meal times. You can do it, if you really want to.
Don't forget to set boundaries. Everyone is to be on time. If you just cannot stand to let call notes or the answering machine answer your phone, unplug it. Remember it is family time, not work time, not friend time but family. In the same mode, cell phones should be off, no texting, no telephoning, no telelvison, no radio. It shows tremendous ego that we have to be connected at all times. In other words, we don't. If it is really important, they will call back or leave a message. One of the saddest things I ever saw was a car load of people all on cell phones, all talking away, but with nothing to say to each other. Cell phones are useful. I even text occasionally, and use it mostly for emergency, but there is something insidiously wrong about not being able to be disconnected from the cell phone or phone. We need ot sit down and be family together and friends together.
In a family that I have been working with, the mother complained that her family never talks to her at meals, yet she always managed to be talking with someone else on the phone during meals. In other words, set the example. If you want your kids to talk to you at dinner, you need to talk to them. If we start off making meal and prayer times sacred even before kids come along and keep it up, the kids will keep it up as well, as long as both parents buy into it. The moment either family decides not to go along, it will rapidly fall apart. We adults have to be disciplined to be leaders in our families.
One other thing, it is good to have silence in our lives. Between radios, stereos, televisions, telephones, many of our kids (and some adults) no longer have silnce in their lives. The TV or radio goes on first thing and stays on all day. The teenagers have their cell phone surgically attached to the ear or text all the time. Remember, God revealed himself to Moses and Elija in the silence. We all need some quiet time each day (and not just during our regular prayer time.)
Have a great day.