How Screen Time Is Spoiling Dinner Time With Your Kids
If you are at a restaurant, the sight that will greet you these days are of people sitting quietly with their phones or iPads in front of them. The couples who are on dates, families with kids, groups of friends — it seems like every one of them has lost all interest in their surroundings and only cares what is happening in the virtual world. Whatever happened to finding and maintaining physical connections with people through good ‘ole conversations, hilarious jokes, and entertaining anecdotes? Well, sadly enough, this kind of connection is on its way to extinction, and people don’t seem to notice that their friendships and relationships are falling apart. Losing connection is especially worrying with children as they are impressionable. How we interact and bond with them might shape their future and their life in general. Hence, we should do what it takes to keep our kids away from screen time during meals.
How It Can Affect Your Child’s Health
Kids who have their iPads open while eating out are in danger of more than one thing. First off, they are not paying attention to their meals which means they are not mindful about their food and might end up eating more than they need to. In fact, research has shown that kids who are prohibited in using gadgets during meal times have higher academic achievement, lesser chances of being obese, and fewer behavioral problems like drinking, smoking, and substance abuse. This proves that the more time kids spend interacting with their family, the better their entire well-being will be as they grow older. Too much of screen time, on the other hand, has been linked to unhealthy lifestyle patterns which leads to a number of chronic diseases.
Let Boredom Strike
It is true that children do need a distraction at times. They can throw a tantrum at a public place, and parents have no choice but to calm down their kids with an iPad or their phones. Playing a game or watching a kids’ show keeps them occupied. Moreover, parents need some free time, too, so that they can enjoy dinner and engage in adult conversation. However, kids should be taught from an early age that you don’t need to entertain yourself when you are eating. Moreover, an iPad is not always the solution to their boredom. Sometimes, children should be left alone to get bored. It has been found that when they are bored, they use their imagination to come up with excellent ideas to keep themselves engaged; hence it is great for their brain development, too.
Finally, if your children need something badly to stay engaged, think of other things that can keep them busy. Bring a coloring book — many restaurants often have coloring books and coloring materials for children, so ask around if you forgot to one. A book works, too. However, when they are eating, include them in the conversation and encourage them to continue their activities post the meal.
Children become what we make them, so the very first step you need to take is staying away from gadgets during mealtimes. Remember, your child learns better by watching you rather than listening to you.
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