Why is it better for children to eat without TV and gadgets

Why is it better for children to eat without TV and gadgets

We asked a nutritionist, pediatrician and psychologist.

Sometimes putting on a cartoon is the easiest way to quickly feed a baby. Sometimes children themselves ask for a tablet at the table, because they see how their parents watch TV at dinner or get stuck on the phone. But still, it is better that food accompanied by baby gadgets does not become a habit.

"Children ate more when they watched TV"

Pediatrician Elena Knize

Even 30 years ago, scientists discovered that watching TV slows down the metabolism. And also, being distracted by gadgets, it is easier to overeat. An experiment by American scientists showed that children aged 4 years and older ate more when they watched TV.

Because of this, already in childhood, the risk of developing metabolic syndrome increases: obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and increased blood cholesterol levels. These data confirm the results of a large-scale study. Among 10,000 children from Europe, the risk of developing metabolic syndrome was much higher among those who used to use gadgets while eating.

Therefore, it is better to put smartphones and tablets with cartoons aside in order to eat in peace. And here a personal example works well. If parents do not turn on the TV during meals and do not sit on the phone, the child will regard this behavior as correct.

“This habit can lead to erratic snacking and empty calories.”

Nutritionist Anastasia

Directly gadgets or cartoons do not harm children, but they distract the child's attention so that he may not notice the feeling of satiety. This is potentially dangerous overeating in the future. Children simply do not understand when to stop eating, which increases the risk of obesity. In addition, they may develop a connection between eating and watching: “Before the series, you definitely need to take a snack with you.”

The researchers asked mothers how often their 6- to 12-year-old children use smartphones and tablets at the table and how this affects their diet. It turned out that children who do not let go of gadgets from their hands are twice as likely to have an eating disorder than those who are not distracted by anything or do it rarely.

Sometimes gadgets help feed the child vegetables and other foods that he is not enthusiastic about. The kid is distracted from the plate to cartoons and can eat almost anything. But when parents stop controlling their child's nutrition, such a habit can lead to chaotic snacking and a set of empty calories that do not benefit the body.

"Distracts from the taste of food and from the people at the table"

In psychology, the harm of gadgets at the table has not been proven, and sometimes they are even useful. For example, if you need to "slow down" the child so that he chews more thoroughly, distracted from the desire to quickly eat everything and return to his business. However, using your phone or tablet while eating is a bad example of food culture and table manners. It is as undesirable as reading, playing or watching TV.

A person is distracted from the taste of food and does not pay attention to those who share a meal with him. But the joint meal is one of the ways of socialization and rapprochement of people.

The most correct thing that a parent can do at the table is to eat with the child and engage him in conversation. Ask the child how the day went, if he goes to kindergarten or school, or how he visited his grandmother without you. Discuss all the successful events of the last days, make joint plans for the weekend.

If you can’t completely abandon the gadget or TV at the table, it’s better to use them together. Decide what you will watch at lunch or dinner, what you will play. In the process, you focus on each other, and not on the screen: you observe reactions, exchange remarks. This will bring you together and make eating together more enjoyable.


If a child watches cartoons or plays while eating, he may not notice what and how much he eats. Because of this, there is a violation of eating behavior and, as a result, excess weight.

Do not turn on cartoons to feed your baby unloved but healthy food. For example, vegetables. So the habit of eating everything indiscriminately while watching a movie may appear.

Lead by example: if you yourself don’t eat in front of the TV and don’t sit with your smartphone at the table, then the children won’t either.

Develop a culture of table manners: socialize, discuss your day, enjoy your food. And if you turn on the video, then together choose what to watch.

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