Tips for breaking the habit of using gadgets during mealtimes - a blog post by mommyshravmusings

10 Easy Tips for Breaking the Habit of Using Gadgets During Mealtimes

As a child psychologist, seeing kids glued to screens and gadgets constantly breaks my heart. Most children can’t even relish a meal properly if they don’t have gadgets. Using gadgets during mealtimes reduces the parent’s struggle to feed the children. It might relieve the parents but have long-term effects on the child’s emotional and physical health. Research has proved that using gadgets during mealtimes affects both physical and emotional health.

Nowadays, even adults are addicted to gadgets and keep scrolling over their mobiles while eating. If you observe in a restaurant, you can see that people at most tables would be busy with their mobiles, and the conversations are limited to choosing the different options from the menu card only. No wonder kids are picking up this habit from us, the adults.

Tips for breaking the habit of using gadgets during mealtimes - a blog post by mommyshravmusings

Related Read: Are you worried that your child is digitally addicted?

Ill-effects of using gadgets during mealtimes.

Gadget distractions during mealtimes lead to many problems, and here are some issues that arise due to over-exposure to gadgets.

  1. Poor digestion: When we are engrossed in gadgets, we tend to eat quickly and mindlessly. This can lead to poor digestion as we don’t properly chew our food, impairing the breakdown process.
  2. Overeating: Distraction from gadgets can disrupt the body’s natural hunger and satiety cues, leading to overeating. People may consume more calories than they need because they do not notice their body’s fullness signals. This will lead to a lack of enjoyment and satisfaction from a meal.
  3. Nutritional deficiencies: When we are distracted by gadgets, we are less likely to make healthy food choices. This can result in a lack of nutrient-rich foods in our diet, leading to potential nutritional deficiencies over time.
  4. Mindless Eating Habits: When we are focused on gadgets, we may not fully appreciate the taste, texture, and sensory experience of our meals. This can lead to a decreased enjoyment of food and a diminished connection with the culinary experience.
  5. Reduced social interaction: Gadgets can hinder social interaction during mealtimes, which is an important opportunity for bonding and communication within families. It can lead to decreased communication and connection among family members.
  6. Impaired cognitive focus: Multitasking between gadgets and eating can lead to decreased cognitive focus and attention on both activities. As a result, it can negatively affect concentration, memory, and overall cognitive performance.

Food is the primary energy source; hence, it’s important to respect food and make it a habit of eating mindfully. Doing so allows us to choose healthy food options and foster meaningful connections. For that to happen, we need to break away from the habit of using gadgets during mealtimes.

With the rise in digital addiction, it’s difficult for all of us to stay away from gadgets. That’s why it’s becoming a new trend for restaurants worldwide to ban cell phones in their dining areas. Instead, they want their customers to reconnect with each other in the good old ways.

Tips to keep gadgets away at the dining table.

Hearing all this, you would think of making a family rule in your house “to keep gadgets away from the dining area,” right? But it’s easier said than done. So, here are a few easy tips for breaking away from using gadgets during mealtimes.

  1. Set a gadget-free zone: Designate the dining area or table as a gadget-free zone during mealtimes. Make it a rule that no gadgets are allowed at the table.
  2. Lead by example: As a parent, practice what you preach. Show your child that you also avoid using gadgets during meals. Be present and engaged in the conversation.
  3. Establish mealtime rules: Create clear rules around gadget use during meals and communicate them to your child. For example, no gadgets at the table, no TV or screens during meals, etc.
  4. Make meals enjoyable: Create a pleasant and engaging environment during mealtimes. For example, have conversations, play gentle background music, or involve your child in meal preparation to make the experience more enjoyable.
  5. Engage in conversation: Encourage meaningful conversation during meals. Ask open-ended questions, share stories, and show genuine interest in your child’s day. This will keep them engaged and less likely to reach for a gadget.
  6. Create mealtime rituals: Establish special rituals or traditions during mealtimes that make them more enjoyable and memorable. This could include sharing something positive that happened during the day, playing a fun game, or discussing a topic of interest.
  7. Set boundaries and consequences: Clearly communicate the consequences of using gadgets during meals. For example, if a gadget is used, mealtime ends immediately, or there may be a temporary restriction on gadget use for a certain period.
  8. Provide alternative activities: Offer alternative activities or distractions during meals that don’t involve gadgets. For example, playing memory games, word games, or encouraging storytelling.
  9. Teach mindful eating: Teach your child the importance of mindful eating. Please encourage them to focus on the food’s taste, texture, and aroma, which helps create a stronger connection with the meal.
  10. Be consistent: Consistency is critical when establishing new habits. For example, please consistently stick to the gadget-free rule during mealtimes; eventually, it will become a natural routine for your child.

Related Read: 5 Memory Games that you can play with your child without any preparation

Children are the main driving force in any household. So for any change to succeed in your house, you must get your children’s consent. So, please discuss with your children the ill effects of using the gadgets during mealtimes and then ask them to devise a plan to keep these gadgets away.

Tips for breaking the habit of using gadgets during mealtimes - a blog post by mommyshravmusings

Younger kids might not be willing to listen; then you might have to use soft yet strict boundaries with them because it’s not good for their physical and emotional health. So as a parent, you need to make that decision.

Parting Thoughts:

We all know that for a new change to become a habit, we must consistently practice it. Hence, breaking your kid’s habit of using gadgets during meal times will also take time and effort from your and their sides. But as a parent, if we show patience and do a positive remodeling, the kids will definitely pick it from us.

By distancing the gadgets during mealtimes, we are not only fostering healthier eating habits, but we will also bond as a family and create more beautiful memories. So let’s embrace the opportunity to reclaim meal times as a time for connection and conversations. I hope you liked the above tips; please let me know how you want gadget-free mealtimes as a family. I would love to hear your views on the same.

QOTD: While relaxing with the kids, ask them what fun activity they could include during mealtime so that the gadgets could be turned off.

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