Is It OK to Let Your Family Watch TV While You Eat Dinner?
Do you guiltily permit the family to watch TV while you eat dinner? Or are you insistent that whole family eat dinner at the table together every night, come hell or high water? For years we’ve been told that eating dinner together is the foundation of a healthy family. With kids, parents and even some grandparents glued to screens all day long, it seems like dinner time is the perfect time to take a break. But surprisingly enough, people are finding that together time in front of the TV can have benefits, too. Here are tips any family can use to make the most out of family meal time everywhere, every night.
Lose the Guilt
What matters most is what works for your family. All the parenting books in the world mean nothing when your walls are splattered with spaghetti sauce and you have peas in places no one should ever have peas. As mommy blogger Maw’s Laws points out in her hilarious and useful list How to Get Your Kids to Nap in 100 Easy Steps, there are no right ways to handle most situations with your kids. It’s all about finding what works for you and your family. So whether it’s pizza in front of the TV or a four-course meal at the dining room table, the important part is you’re together and enjoying each other. Plus, with the pixel density on today’s 4K TVs providing such stunning detail and color, the experience becomes more immersive and enjoyable for everyone.
In Front of the TV
Sitting in front of the TV in silence mindlessly flipping through channels eating frozen dinners does not have to be your family’s fate. Just look at Joy Manning and her hubby in her article for Today.com, In Defense of Eating Dinner in Front of the TV. She makes sure to greet her introvert husband with his favorite cooking aromas when he walks in the door from a long day at work. The two then sit down on the couch, eat off a coffee table and watch a show that they both enjoy and are emotionally invested in, or a comedy that gets them both laughing together.
And while parents might find this idea of family time a little tough to swallow, that just may be irrational parental guilt rearing it’s ugly head. Talking with your kids is important, but so is relaxing with them. Kids are tired at the end of the day. Smaller children are fussy. Older kids have been at school, practice, working on homework. That’s why trying to force family time at the dinner table at the end of the day often ends in tears, arguments, and/or food everywhere.
At the Dinner Table
Instead of insisting every night is spent at the dinner table, maybe shoot for a few nights a week, including one that’s the most mellow for your family. Having a Tuesday night dinner or a weekly Pizza Night at the dinner table makes the event special. Or forget dinner all together and have family breakfast, if possible. The important thing to remember is that the family spends time together.