It’s almost impossible to get kids away from the screens in this modern age. Why are kids the only ones to blame? Even most adults are guilty of the same crime.
Give your kids access to the screens while eating once and forget watching them enjoying their food ever again. Kids who watch TV while eating, tend to miss out on feeling the genuine tastes and texture of various foods. And this is not healthy.
So, it’s very important for parents to get their children used to eating without needing any screen. And if you are clueless about how to make that happen, here are seven great tricks to get kids to eat without a screen.
1. Give Your Kid a Better Distraction
Screens are a great distraction. That’s exactly why it’s important to avoid screens while your kid is having their meals. However, to cut off a distraction, initially, you will have to distract their bigger distraction first.
So, you can bring them some engaging toys that they can play with. You should get your child a suitable toy that they can enjoy.
You can get them a fidget spinner toy, or a dinosaur puzzle to solve, or an interactive doll for pretend-playing while having their meal. Give them whatever they might like. It’s still better than using screens.
2. Sit with Your Kids in the Mealtimes
Most children like to watch TV or a Tablet because they feel lonely while eating. So, if you are planning to take the screens away, compensate it with your presence at the table.
Sit with your child, talk with them, or maybe read stories to your child. Sometimes you can even feed the toddler with your hand but do not let it become a habit.
3. Make Their Table Interesting
If you want to get your kid’s attention on the food rather than on a screen, you need to work it out. Make it look interesting the way you serve them their meals.
You can arrange a cute bowl, baby-friendly utensils, an easy-to-clean high chair, cute spoons, and colorful food items served in an interesting way.
In short, make everything at the table look interesting and helpful for the kids. It will help to attract your baby’s attention to their food and forget about electronic devices.
4. Lay the Rule Without Making It Seem like a Punishment
If your child has already developed the habit of watching TV, phone, or tablets while eating, cutting it off all of a sudden can make it look like a punishment. Eventually, it will result in a bad tantrum or unexpected behavior. So, better try to make it look natural.
You can ask them to help you prepare the table. Maybe ask them to clean it after the meal too.
Getting them engaged in these tasks will give them a good reason to avoid screen time. So, they won’t feel deprived or punished.
5. Schedule the Screen Time Right After the Meal
It’s important for your kids to understand that they do not need a screen to eat their food. And Mealtime and Screen-Time are two different chores.
Taking screens away while eating shouldn’t seem like a punishment. But it shouldn’t feel like their mealtime rituals either.
To make it clear that watching TV or a Tablet is their privilege and not their right, you can schedule their watch time right after mealtime. However, don’t schedule it before their bedtime.
6. Be consistent, But Allow Exceptions
If your toddler is already addicted to screens, it will not be easy to get them to eat without it. But you need to be consistent once you have established the rules.
Initially, they might cry, or throw tantrums at you. But you need to be a little strict with the rules. However, allow exceptions if they have a special show to watch or a nice movie to catch.
Disciplining your child shouldn’t be always going by the rule book. Sometimes, breaking the rules can be healthy too. They should know that they are more important than any rules or responsibilities.
7. Start the Practice with their Favorite Foods
Have you just decided to reduce your toddler’s screen time while eating? If so, then state the reasons behind your decisions.
Children are not usually easy to accept changes in their lifestyle, especially if it goes against their interests. So, once you have set the rules, they are most likely to get upset about it and refuse to eat.
So, try to start with their favorite foods that they can’t resist. This soft gesture of bribery can help them get used to the new rules.
It’s never too late for building good habits. A lot of parents do not realize the impact until their little kids become addicted to their electronic devices like a TV, iPad, Tablet, or Smartphone.
It is great if you can start avoiding screens from newborn age. But it’s okay even if you are the parent of a big toddler. You can use these seven tricks and slowly you will see them changing.