Magic of family meals

Hmmm… I noticed my previous posts includes ern “busy” while waiting for food or even after having her meals. So what is it with all these “activities” all about?

It’s really about …. Read on ; )

As much as I would love to have family meals together. As in ee fann, myself and ern sits together to have meals as a family, it ain’t always possible because of ee fann’s work commitments. Hence I do treasure it when we have meals together as a family.

By being together I do not only mean it in physical context. I really meant being there – body and soul. Which literally translates to no TV and definitely no other electronic gadgets. Yes that includes the iPhone and ipad. Like all other human inventions, they are invented for a reason and its always the question of HOW we use it.

When I first got my iPhone, I was intrigued by it and so was ern. I think touch screen interface is a natural magnet to most children. Like most parents, I went in to purchase apps for ern and that made it even more attractive to her. Then during meal times in a restaurant, in order to get ern to settle down and “wait” for food to be served, I dished out my iPhone and gave it to ern to keep her “entertained”. This continued for quite some time and we even brought ipad out after it was launched. We certainly didn’t think it there was anything wrong with giving her the ipad to keep her “still” in a restaurant. It then came a point that ern will asks for ipad or iPhone automatically when she sits in a restaurant. I didn’t feel quite right then but I didn’t do anything about it. (still taking the shortcut to chill while ern is “busy”) Then I started to have more frequent meals with her and that was when I realised it’s just not right. I want to talk to her but she is clearly not with me. She is in her own world; addicted to her iPhone/ipad. Like I’ve shared with another mother before; such situation is similar to one’s addiction to a cigarette.

I gradually stopped it. I gave ern other things to do. We do it together. Things like arts and crafts, worksheets that she likes (dot to dots, matching, mazes etc) the thing is that we do it TOGETHER. We are in OUR world. That’s bonding. Some has shared with me that they use their child’s favourite things such as coloured spoons etc… I can picture then chatting away with their child while waiting for food to be served. I think that’s a great idea. It did not take ern long enough to “quit the habit” it pretty much happened in an instance. Children is very adaptive and that’s part of their survival instinct. It’s always us as parents who thinks otherwise.

Dinner table has it’s magic. As adults, when we sit around a dinner table, it automatically “draws a line” to the outside world. It is a time for family to be together. To talk about anything. To parents, it is a time to educate our children to be civil and be cultured. And this habit starts young. Like I’ve mentioned, they are very adaptive. If you don’t give they won’t take. And even if they do asks for it, it’s the parents obligation to properly parent their children. (that’s why parenting is never easy. There is no shortcut)

And even if they “really have to have the ipad” it is still best to put it away once food is served. My take is that children needs to appreciate what is being served. How the food looks like, how it taste like, appreciate presence of other people around them. That is table manners. Rather than being fed all the time while being lost in the ipad world. Experts says that when children eats without distractions (no TV or ipad) they tend to eat the right amount and therefore prevents obseity (over eating) in future. And also family that eats TOGETHER has lesser tension during mealtimes, closer to their family, lesser chances of suicidal, depression, generally do better in school etc ….

Definitely there will be times when I’m bushed out and am tempted to give the phone to ern while I “rest my mind”. I guess that is fine once in a while but it has to go when food is served. It’s draining taking care of ern for days when I am not working. However… Working parents already has limited time with their children and the more they should cherish meal times together.

One more thing that I’ve noticed. Family who eats together without distractions tends to have children who ain’t picky about food. Reason being, the children observes what their parents eat and just follows suit. It’s only when they do not have an example to follow (being distracted and all) that such pickiness tends to form. Not to mention children who eats “properly” at dinning table are also more well behaved.

It’s a natural instinct for us parents to want our children to grow up well, brought up well. It’s no mean feat but I’m sure we will still do our best! So essence or absence? It’s not hard to decide. *winks*


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