Monday, December 7, 2015

Distracted dining hurts families

When I was little we had a simple rule in our household: No eating in front of the television. We ate our meals at the tables in the kitchen or dining room. In nice weather, we ate outside on the deck.

When I got my own apartment, I found myself still following this rule. I made my meals and ate them at my dinner table. Occasionally, I would eat some popcorn during a movie, but the majority of the time, I followed my parents' rule.

Now that I have a child of my own, we still follow that rule: We eat our meals at the table, and I'm glad that we do. Not only do I not have to worry about crumbs in the living room, but I don't have to worry about distracted dining.

Television, electronic devices, phones and games: They are all dinner distractions. And the latest studies say the distractions are a problem for both children and parents. The obvious part of the study indicates that distracted diners overeat. The less obvious part of the study points out that distractions prevent good parenting. When parents aren't paying attention to the meal, they are not monitoring their child's food intake or asking questions about fullness. They are also not modeling good behaviors.

So, put the distractions away, and please pass the pepper.

What are your rules around eating in front of the television? Tell me in the comments.

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