I swore I would never be one of those parents, but I admit that at times, I just give in and let them watch a movie together on my phone while they wait for a meal.
And…. I feel guilty about it each time. Now that our kids are older (not preschoolers anymore!) I enjoy their conversation and they have learned to wait more patiently, but they still ask every time that we go out to eat “Can we take our tablet?”
So, is it worth the battle or should we let our kids use electronics at a restaurant? We asked our readers and loved their answers!
1.“Personally, eating out is a treat and we do not bring any devices etc. It kills me to see families out for a nice dinner and everyone has their heads buried in their phones or iPod or iPad what ever happened to coloring? I completely understand the quiet time and for your sanity etc. However, I do wonder what is the point in going out to eat as a family for dinner then? Talk with the kids, play I spy, ply the 20 question game! Enjoy your family time, because all too soon they will not even want to be seen with you in public They grow up so fast.” – Alicia P
2.“We do not let our kids have electronics at dinner- whether out or in. We have three with one on the way. We believe that talking and even fooling around a bit, being funny, is vital to our family. We also believe that children learning to behave and be polite in a restaurant is a dying art. Let me assure you, it does not always turn out the way we want. However some day those kids will be gone and my husband and I will have all the quiet time we want. It’s just getting there right?”. -Amy C
3.“There is no one “right way” to parent. Quiet time is invaluable for you and your husband. It all depends on your convictions. We are a “no tech” family. We choose to not let our kids use IPads, video games, iPods, etc.. Those are our convictions, but they do not have to be yours. Search your heart and decide what kind of home/family dynamic you want. When you discover that, foster an environment that nurtures that dynamic. You’ve got this mama. Don’t let other people’s mindsets guilt you into something you don’t otherwise see as a big deal.” – Liz Q
4.“My 8 and 12 y/o girls use theirs only until the food comes and only if no one else is with us. If we are dining with other family or friends, we have a ‘no electronics or books at the table’ rule. They are expected to be part of the group.” – Michelle S
5.“The best advice I ever got was: do what works for you!” – Melissa P
6.“We have not done that, but it is a backup for things like super long waits, whether it is at a doctor’s office or a restaurant (like if the wait was over 20 minutes).” – Marysa N.
7.“At home, we have a rule that does not allow electronics during meals. However, when we go out it’s a different ball game. We want to keep them happy, entertained and make it a positive experience so we bring games, crayons, books, things to keep their hands busy. Eating out is different from eating at home where you can get up without everyone staring. They are still only kids, not adults, let’s remember that first and they are still learning.” – Lynn M
8.“Sometimes we let the kids play on the iPad or phone while we are out to dinner (until the food comes). Other times we bring a little game or activity instead. I don’t find anything wrong with it. We spend a lot of time talking together as a family other times so there is no reason for us to feel guilty. And you shouldn’t either.” – Deborah R
9.“You all are the parents, you set the rules. If you want to allow it then that is your business. Establish the “dinner rules” such as only after the meal is ordered and until it arrives. Then you(mom) puts the electronics away until back in the car.” – Lisa L
10.“In my opinion as long as you have plenty of unplugged family time I see nothing wrong with this in order to help them stay entertained while eating out.” – Kathryn D