Children, food & screens
- It’s super convenient
- Children sit in one place and eat ‘properly’
- Many educative programs are available
- Exposure to screens is unavoidable for these children
These and more arguments are perfectly logical. In the pressing demands of today’s life, NOONE has a right to judge the choice of another to give screens while eating. While that holds undeniably true, it’s always better when the choice is informed.
Here are some things to consider:
- Instead of the screen, when an adult sings those songs or tells those stories
- The child-adult connection becomes stronger (this connection builds the foundation for the child’s growth and well-being).
- The child learns much more about volume, rate, pitch, tone, etc.
- The child learns much more about the expression of emotions and the give and take aspects of communication.
- The relationship with food begins to build from day one. Awareness of appetite, point of satiation and tastes of foods are important aspects of this relationship with food as well as one’s own body. If while interacting with food and nourishment, the child receives high stimulation from the screen (which is a common aspect of many programs), the opportunity to build these things is lost. A healthy relationship with one’s own body, food and receiving nourishment can build the foundation for resilience, self-respect, well-being and many other important aspects.
- As convenient as everyday feeding is, the dependency on screens rather than interacting with humans and environment is that much inconvenient in the long run.
Having said that, there may be some days when you simply don’t have the bandwidth and on those days screens may come to the rescue.
Make the balanced choice that is in the interest of BOTH you and your child.
Activity: Pick any song in a language that you speak at home. Make sure this song has an upbeat rhythm and characters (eg. animals) that are relatable to the child. Learn it by heart. Sing this song while your child eats, making animated gestures and sounds, maintaining eye contact with your child and responding to the way the child responds to the drama and singing. Try this for at least a week with the same song (if your child enjoys it) or with different songs.