Friday, February 24, 2017

Keeping electronics out of restaurant meals.

GWBdayDinner (1)
Photo courtesy of Flickr user AnJanettew
If you are a parent that has taken your kid out to dinner more than once, then I am guessing that you have heard this before.  "Can I have your phone?"

This used to happen to us all the time.  Waiting for dinner is boring, and the phone (and the games you load especially for your kids) are an easy way to keep your kid occupied while you chat with friends, wait for dinner, or casually sip your espresso after a delicious meal.

My wife and I both wanted to stop this "additional" screen time for my son, but it's hard, because the whining potential (and persistence of whining)
My son eating his favorite dessert last year.
for children is strong. We've come up with a few solutions that might work for you also.

Here are my suggestions for your behavior, plus a number of non-electronic ALTERNATIVE games that we bring to entertain our child, so that the electronics don't have to.

Hope that helps, and if you've got your own favorite suggestions, please add them in the comments!

As I mentioned, the whining ability (and the ability to ruin an otherwise fine meal) is very powerful with kids.  You need to be equally strong and say no.  The answer to "My friend does it" or even "my friend is doing it" is "Good for him/her. But that's not the right thing for you."

You can't be a hypocrite.  Get off the phone yourself. Don't bring it out at dinner or even after dinner. Practice what you preach.  It will be good for you.

My son is only allowed "fun screen time" on Fun Fridays, and weekend mornings.  He does get about 2.5 hours on Friday and maybe 2 hours each day on Saturday/Sunday.

Your child needs to get engaged in something else that is not electronic.

Here are a few alternatives that we use, and often carry with us if we know that we are going to a restaurant.  Please note that these are affiliate links, so if you do click and buy something from Amazon, I will get a little something-something from them.  No pressure of course, just being transparent.

We carry a set of madlibs in the car.  If we can remember to bring them in to the restaurant, we can work our way through about 4 before the food comes.
It is also a good way to wile away a long road trip.  BUY ON AMAZON

This is a great and handy thing to have in your pocketbook or pocket at nearly all times.  It's easy to play, you can play with up to 6 people (more, and I recommend just using 2 decks) and it's very fast paced.  The new decks come with customizable rule cards, but we don't use them, preferring the simple game. BUY ON AMAZON.

This is a classic, and can keep kids busy for hours.  You can also add in either some origami instructions or airplane instructions, and have them build a project.  If there are multiple kids, create a project for them to do with a small reward for the winner-  An extra scoop of ice cream, or a quarter for the gumball machine.
You obviously don't have to have a kit like this one and can build your own, but having a bag full of the supplies ready to go in the car is much better than trying to assemble a kit each time. BUY ON AMAZON

There are a number of simple games you can play with a pen and paper.  We bought a couple of game pads that are sheets of paper already set up for the game of dots or hangman.  
 There's also the product on the left, which adds Tic Tac Toe, and a couple of other pencil games to the list.


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