Eating in front of the TV: avoid it

7th October 2020

Eating as a family without the television in the background is important for children to acquire good eating habits. It helps prevent obesity, promotes communication between parents and their children and is essential for helping children gain self-esteem and self-confidence. It has nothing but advantages!

Studies say that eating together around the same table offers children numerous nutritional benefits. They eat better, eat more fruit and vegetables, consume more vitamins minerals and fibre and learn to chew better.

A lot of these benefits disappear when the television is turned on. If children are watching the screen, they are not paying attention to what they are eating, not tasting their food and it is hard to make them understand that they need to eat their vegetables as well as their meat, even if they don't like them as much. They also don't chew as well, and since they do not eat consciously, their feelings of being full are inhibited and they are not aware of how much they are eating. For children who are slow eaters, the distraction of the TV prolongs mealtime even further. They may also see advertisements for sweets, pastries or soft drinks, which negatively influence their eating habits.

But there are also other reasons for turning the television off:

  • It promotes communication in the family home. Children who eat with their parents have greater self-esteem and better expressive skills.
  • Sharing in a chat helps them feel like part of a family that loves them, which provides confidence and security.
  • The development of eating habits facilitates the later acquisition of other habits, such as study. Chewing and swallowing solids are basic exercises that tone the muscles involved in talking, which promotes oral expression.
  •  Turning off the TV while you are eating is key to a child establishing a good relationship with food from infancy. That's why you should also not use the television as a reward if your child eats his dinner, or as a punishment if he doesn't finish.
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