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Meal Time: Screen Time or Family Time

A common scenario in every household, nowadays, sees kids munching on chewing their food half-heartedly while being glued to screens. Thanks (or not) to technological advancements, the screen doesn’t necessarily mean only television these days; children today have a lot of options to choose from- smartphones, Kindle, tablets etc. Gone are the days when mealtime was a family affair for all members to sit across the dining table, enjoying a hearty meal together and discussing their day. Nowadays, owing to our fast-paced life, this ritual is slowly fading away. But the vital question is simple and that- Is letting your child eat in front of a screen a good idea?!

The need of doing so!

Being a mom of an energetic and inquisitive 3.5-year-old daughter, I can understand this pretty well. After a long tiresome day, the requirement is pretty basic- to have my meal in peace! At times, when my daughter gets fussy and cranky, it’s relatively much easier for me to switch to her favorite cartoon and let her eat. Yes, I know I am guilty much like all other parents who follow this trick time to time. To overcome tiring bad days or once in a while, its fine, but let not the child or you form a habit.

We, at iNTELLYJELLY, feel that screen time has not only integrated entirely into our lives but our younger generation’s too. While it’s probably fine on some days but it’s crucial that a kid’s mealtime and screen time should be not be combined on a daily basis. Read the following content before you switch on any screen for your child at mealtime.

  • The tendency of over-eating or under-eating:

Eating habits vary from kid to kid. While watching TV, few kids tend to overeat because they are so zapped with the images on the screen that their hand to mouth mechanism is on an auto- mode. They don’t realize what are they eating nor have any idea about the quantity or quality. A research among 100 kids who were made to eat in front of TV had whopping results. A good 55% kids finished their meal but couldn’t tell later what they had eaten, and on the other hand, 35% kids didn’t eat at all and were more concentrated on their TV screens. Only a handful 15% could finish their meals with minimal distraction from the Screen.

  • Eating Subsequent Meals or Snacking becomes Tempting:

Once the screens are off, kids invariably feel hungry again and thus start snacking. Binge- snacking is not healthy. Moreover, these young children are more inclined to eating fats and sugars, and as a result, calories. They can seldom eat balanced food in the right quantity while in front of any screen. Also, there is no doubt that this activity contributes to suffering from weight disorders (over or under) and results in lower metabolism rates.

  • Food and behavior are interconnected:

Many behavioral issues can be related to gut health. A child’s way of thinking and acting is dependent on what he eats too. We all have seen whenever kids have a high sugar intake; they end up being too energetic and active. Similarly, junk food slows down a kid’s senses. And eating this kind of food in front of the screen completely diminishes the ability of concentration and learning.

What is clear is that children not only behave but also concentrate better, follow instructions better, and remember more when they eat healthier food. Let’s not forget that concentration, following instructions, and memory is fundamental building blocks of the learning process and vital for success at school and home alike.

What can be done?

Only parents can limit how much technology their Kids use at home. Kids take time to adapt to changes, but consistency is the key.

“A whopping 85% of parents of children of age 6-14 years agree: “I wish my child would do more things that did not involve screen time.”

Few suggestions from iNTELLYJELLY-

  • Limit screen time– It is addictive. Layout a timetable planned for children with fixed TV time and strictly none at meal time.
  • Prefer family meals– Screen hampers child’s relationships too. Encourage the whole family to eat together in the good old-fashioned way. Let it be a light moment. Talk and share. Not only it brings all members close but imbibes healthy and balanced eating, especially for children.
  • Make activities, books, toys priority than simply giving in to screen time– It’s much better for a child to read, play and eat rather than blankly staring at the ‘idiot box’. If your idea is to settle your overactive kid and feed, then activities like puzzles are a better option.
  • iNTELLYJELLY for Children– On days when the child is fussy, try and deviate from the positive content of our magazine. With this, not only does the child eat good food but takes in good information too. We at iNTELLYJELLY, have our sole aim at providing substantial content for the age groups of 4-14 years. We understand the need for quality rather than quantity. Subscribe today to get an unlimited supply of activities, information, stories, content and a plethora of other interesting content!

It’s good for children to be smart but not smart-phone dependent!

Let’s unplug! Ourselves and our younger generation too.

Until next time!

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