One of the things that we really enjoy doing as a family is going out and having meals together at various restaurants. I kind of love the chaos that we cause pulling in and unleashing our brood on the poor sugar sachets and pepper grinders. It’s something that used to scare me to death (even with less children) but it is now something that I really look forward to and feel cheated if we did not venture out with them at least once every weekend.
For example this weekend we spent our Sunday lunch at Primi. Just getting in there with the girls and a pram took some manoeuvring – through crowded tables, reshuffling of chairs, pulling of hands to direct the little peoples feet onto the right path, trying to catch the hand of the one that got away and is not looking at where she is supposed to be going, smiling at all of the incredulous stares by the rest of the patrons of the venue – all secretly hoping that we will not be seated next to them.
And that was just getting to the table.
Once there and after quelling the fights that inevitably ensue for the prime seat, we did our usual once over of the table, removing all hazardous cutlery from where the girls were sitting, removing everything on the side that Knox had access to and placing all the rest of the clutter of the table in the middle. All things that used to be a conscious move in the beginning, now just something that happens without any thought. Finally the waiter is able to place a couple of colouring pages and crayons on the table, for the girls to occupy themselves with (for all of 5 minutes).
After finding the items on the menu that the girls are most likely to eat, we order and finally have a bit of a chance to take in our surroundings.
I look over to the left and there is a family of about 12, all seated and chatting. It must have been friends who met for lunch. It all looked lovely until I noticed that all the kids there were not interacting at all, but rather, they were all hunched over staring at various models of tablet/mobile device.
It was so sad.
What’s the point of going out if all they do to entertain themselves is look at a screen?
Yes, having to occupy my kids and entertain them for the hour or two that we are stuck around the table is sometimes a challenge, but at least it is a time for us all to chat, play and make memories. I mean, if they just got to play on tablets and such, we wouldn’t have moments like these:
What are your thoughts on this new “non-talking” phenomenon taking over our dinner tables and family times? Do you let it happen in your home?
For us, I am trying desperately to keep my kids in line of what I experienced as a child. Yes, there was TV time and playing on the gameboy (which I am definitely not excluding for my kids – believe me), but there was also time playing “teacher, teacher” or wrestling or building towers with lego or riding bikes outside. I don’t want my children to miss out on those experiences.
And definitely not because it made going out (or even staying in) “easier” for me to be a parent.