10 Reasons Why Dinner Should Be A No-Phone Zone
Dinner isn’t just a time to catch up as family. In many households, it’s the only time each day the whole family gets together.
That’s why you should establish dinnertime as a phone-free affair. Otherwise, the devices you bought to keep everyone in touch with each other may actually stifle the conversation.
Given how glued your kids are to their devices, however, you may struggle to unstick them. Use these reasons to explain to them why supper should be phone-free:
1. Dinner Creates Connection
Activities and responsibilities keep families apart for most of the day. But humans are hardwired to connect over food.
In the wild, gathering or hunting for a meal took a team. Enjoying the spoils together kept hungry animals away while encouraging everyone to pitch in for the next meal. That’s why eating dinner alone can be so depressing.
Although putting food on the table is a lot easier these days, that deep urge to socialize over dinner remains. Help your kids enjoy it. They may be hesitant at first, but it will gradually become more natural, turning dinner into a wonderful event each night.
2. Dinner Is for Eating, Not Scrolling
You might feel like this goes without saying, but the whole purpose of dinner is to eat. When your kids’ hands and eyes are on their phone, they physically can’t put food in their mouths.
Getting kids to finish their meal is a battle many parents face. With no electronics at the table, all of their focus can be on eating.
3. Communication Skills Matter
Between bites, dinner helps kids hone their communication skills. Later in life, they’ll find those skills useful in all sorts of contexts, from the workplace to their romantic relationships.
Natural conversation over family dinner is ideal practice for those sorts of situations. The best learning happens in the home, after all.
4. Notifications Are Distracting
It’s not enough for everyone to keep their phone in their pocket over dinner. Not only should devices be out of sight, but they should also be silenced.
The constant buzz of notifications is enough to drive anyone insane as they try to enjoy their meal. Thinking about what those notifications could mean is also distracting, drawing your attention away from the people around you. Turning off notifications shows courtesy to everyone at the table.
5. It’s Disrespectful
Speaking of courtesy, spending all your time on a screen when in another’s company is disrespectful. By refusing to look up from your device, you’re giving the impression that your electronics are more important than the people around you.
Putting your phone away says the opposite: You want to spend time with your family, and you’re willing to make a small sacrifice in order to do so.
6. You’re Happier Without it
It’s true: Not using your phone at dinner can actually make you happier. The reason is simple: When your phone isn’t commanding your attention, you’re more engaged with your surroundings.
A good analogy is taking pictures while you’re on vacation: Wouldn’t you rather enjoy the scenery than hide your face behind a camera the whole time?
7. It Teaches Proper Etiquette
One of the goals of parenting is to set your kids up for success once they’ve flown the coop. By enforcing a no-phone policy at dinner, you’ll establish a habit that will benefit your children down the road.
Whether it’s a lunch date or a job interview, your kids stand a better chance with their phones put away. By focusing on who they’re with, they’ll leave a positive impression.
8. It Avoids Accidents
Phones are expensive. Can you afford to replace one right now? If not, you have another reason to enforce the no-phones-over-dinner rule.
When you’re not paying attention, it’s much more likely that a glass gets spilled. With a phone in one hand, you’re likely to try to reach for things without taking your eyes off the screen. Focus on what’s in front of you, and you’ll avoid making a mess.
9. It Teaches Self-Control
Keeping your phone away during dinnertime shows that you’re not addicted to your device. By making dinner a phone-free zone, you’re also practicing patience. Don’t give in to the urge, and you’ll be that much more able to resist it next time.
10. Overdoing Screens Is Unsafe
Too much screen time can lead to a number of mental and physical health issues. As part of your strategy to limit the amount of screen time your kids get, make dinner device-free for the whole family.
Promoting time off screen will help your kids realize just how much the real world has to offer. A tech-free dinner guarantees at least one break from their devices. Consider establishing other device-free times or zones in your home.
Teens, in particular, may be upset by the idea of phone-free dinners. But there are so many reasons to enjoy a device-free meal that, sooner or later, they’ll see the sense behind it.