A mother was asking me yesterday to share what I did with my kids when they are out at a restaurant because she has two very active kids. This was my reply.
Oirene, I was in your position too with my twins and I was also guilty of just opting for the easy way out by offering them gadgets especially when they were around the 2-3 years age. But soon I realised that wasn’t healthy as they always expected gadgets as soon as we sat down at a restaurant. Once they could understand consequences well, I told them there would be no gadgets as we want to spend time together as a family, talking and getting to know each other better. If you have younger children, then I suggest you bring colouring or sticker books along, or just any toys, puzzles or Legos that will keep them occupied without resorting to them playing iPad. My twins now no longer ask for gadgets when we go out. The only time I give them gadgets to play is when we are out with friends and we just want them to occupy themselves while we entertain our friends. But even then I would set a time limit and get them to self entertain before they resort right away to gadgets. I also do point out to my kids whenever we go out, how many tables of families with children who are all looking and playing their gadgets and not even looking at each other at all or spending time with one another. I think that is just such a sad sight, don’t you think? Call me old school, but I just remembered those fond memories of families eating together and chit chatting and laughing with one another. That is what I called Quality Time.
I think as parents we need to set good examples to our children first before they can model our behavior. I know it’s tempting to use the gadgets as our electronic sitters while we do our adults’ stuff, but we got to learn to cherish the time we spend together as a family. Because that’s what counts at the end of the day. Our family.