Last night we gave the kids a special treat; we let them watch a movie while eating dinner. I know! We are crazy and reckless parents! Even though it seems commonplace these days I don’t know how long it has been since we watched TV during mealtime. It used to be an everyday occurrence before we had kids.
Mealtime with young kids can be very frustrating. They whine about our menu choices, they are distracted by toys they want to play with, and they are always encouraging each other to play with their food (the twins are in their blowing bubbles in their milk phase). Our current mealtime experiences are anything but relaxing.
Lisa is one who likes to savour and enjoy her meals. Ever since I have known her one characteristic I admired was her determination to slow down at mealtime and actually enjoy her food. Jovial chat while eating is appreciated but constant goofing around and whining is not. Last night proved to us that adding TV to the mealtime menu can provide the right amount of distraction needed so we can relax and enjoy our food like we used to. Are we going to add TV at mealtime permanently? Not a chance. Even though this one benefit can be tempting we will resist as the long term benefits of making mealtime family time greatly outweighs the short term breather.
When our kids start school and get more involved in sports, activities, and friends, we need to have some time to gather as a family. If we get in the habit of watching TV while eating then when will we talk on a daily basis? If we start with the TV habit now it will be hard to remove it later.
We do not go out for dinner often but the few times we have lately we have noticed how most restaurants now have TV’s, especially in family restaurants. When we walk in with 3 kids we always seem to be seated near one of these TV’s and cartoons seem to magically appear on the screen. We do take advantage of this so we can relax and enjoy our overpriced meal, but it is a real sign that TV and food is a match people expect. Why would we want to entertain each other when we have a TV that can do that for us? From time to time we will treat the kids to dinner and a movie but on a daily basis in our household mealtime is family time.