Although it is a widely extended custom to sit down to eat while watching television, this practice is being increasingly questioned due to all the negative effects it brings to children, adolescents and the family in general.
However, day to day leaves less and less time to sit down to eat and share all together at the table for at least 15 minutes a day, this leads to a variety of inconveniences that affect the little ones.
Is it wise for children to eat in front of or watching television?
Sometimes getting a child to eat all his food becomes an odyssey for parents, so different methods and strategies are sought to get the child to eat, including punishments, scolding, rewards and even distractions such as watching the cell phone or television while feeding.
By placing the child to watch television while eating, we expose him to the presentation of hundreds of advertisements that encourage his interest in unhealthy foods, additionally; television represents a means of distraction that will not allow the child to comply with a certain schedule to eat.
Why is it recommended that children eat with family?
Mealtime is the ideal time to gather the family, talk, interact with each other, in addition to this, when we eat we not only calm our hunger, we also enjoy food with all our senses, we savor it, we perceive its aroma and we are delighted with its presentation, it is the right time to instill eating habits in children, teach them to eat fruits and vegetables.
Children who eat together with the family eat better than those who usually eat separately or with some distraction, are more likely to be emotionally happy, improve their vocabulary and reading skills, establish healthy relationships with other children, are more integrated to the family, they will continue with this habit as adolescents and will present less risk of carrying out negative actions such as consuming alcohol, etc.
What is the importance of eating food correctly during lunch?
Lunch is the meal of the day that is responsible for providing the body with the energy necessary to carry out activities, keeping the metabolism active, this meal can provide a third of the daily nutrients necessary for school-age children, so it can be considered as a essential food for the development and growth of children.
Contrary to what many people think, skipping lunch does not help you lose weight, since by spending many hours without eating, the body feels a greater appetite that can lead to eating less healthy foods, or having an excessive intake of food.
Consequences and effects of children eating while watching TV
When we are in front of the television while we eat food, we pay less attention to food and we have less contact with our family, besides this distraction can generate other negative effects.
They don’t pay attention to what they eat
While children are in front of the television when they eat, they do not pay attention to the food they eat, they do not appreciate the taste of the food and they lose track of the amounts ingested, which can lead to obesity.
Reduced fruit and vegetable intake
Children acquire the habit of eating healthy by watching the rest of the family do it, while those who watch television while eating, do not pay attention and avoid eating vegetables that provide fiber, vitamins and minerals for the proper functioning of the organs.
No communication with the family
When we all meet at the table at mealtime, we exchange ideas, talk, ask about each other’s day and interact with the rest of the family, while when watching television we don’t talk about the experiences lived but about the program being watched.
It is very distracting
Watching television during meals generates a source of distraction in children that prevents them from concentrating on other activities, or paying attention to what is happening around them, in this way it can happen that they eat more than required since the sensation is inhibited because the brain is focused on another situation.
Take longer to eat
Focused on watching television, children take longer than normal to get a bite of food into their mouths, so they tend to take much longer than normal to finish eating.
Promotes obesity and overweight
Television usually presents a variety of advertisements during children’s hours that promote the consumption of sweets and other unhealthy foods due to their high content of fat, sugar and calories.
The advertisements cause children to want to consume these foods frequently, which promote obesity in children, in addition to causing a sedentary lifestyle and dissuading them from practicing physical activities and games.
What can I do if my child refuses to eat with family?
Habits must be inculcated from an early age, therefore the parents are the ones who must guide the child in this regard, if the child does not want to eat with the family and only want to watch television, and they must be patient and explain that mealtime is time to share with the family.
Sit down with him and start talking about what he did in the day, ask him how he did at school, what he did with his friends and you will notice how little by little he will give in to the attitude he initially presented.
You can try to incorporate the child into the food preparation process, in this way he will feel like participating in the family meal and you can even incorporate different foods, it will be a good time for others to instill good table manners and habits, such as setting the table and clear it once the mealtime is over.