The Importance of a Device-Free Dinner Table

It’s hard enough for Mom to cook dinner, keep the house looking tidy and fold your underwear. Your wife is a Goddess and the last thing she needs is for Dad to come home and be a zombie. Even the Mom who gets help at home with grandparents, has hired a nanny, or even has a husband that is into folding laundry is going to be burned out keeping the ship upright – the way she wants.

No matter what hat Mom most frequently wears at home, and there is probably 20 different hats being worn – there is little doubt, especially in the formative first 6 years, that Mom does most of the heavy lifting. The very least the involved Father can do is support her as best as possible. This means being focused at the dinner table.

1. Your wife is worth it

Nearly every Mom who has walked planet earth the last couple hundred years has had a high value on “being social”. Mind you some women have the social/funzie/cultural values a bit lower than others, yet it is guaranteed that when a baby comes, that value rises on the hierarchy list. The more a void exists for ALL humans the more likely it is to become a higher value.

How many intelligent conversations is Mom having Wednesday at 10 AM? Probably none. There isn’t any Aristotle in that poopy diaper. Just some corn and an awful nose-hair burning stench. The more mom is home, the more she misses other adults, and the stimulating conversation that goes with it. You can be the human who fills up the social love tank at the end of her day!

2. Sports aren’t worth it

Ever lost money? Like you lost a couple grand? Dollars to Donuts you VERY quickly thought about saving money, tightening up expenses, closing some more sales and working a bit of overtime. The void of the lost cash raised the value of money for you in a nanosecond. Ask the author how he knows.

So it all comes back full circle at dinner time. Dads, when your green beans arrive, IT IS TIME TO PUT THE PHONE DOWN. Yes, Monday Night Football will go on without you checking your fantasy team every 2 minutes. The good news is there is also likely a “pause” button on your DVR. Just push the button and sing along – I love technology. 

Yes, your Facebook news feed will continue without you checking it, but is it really that important to see Cousin Jimmy dumping ice water on his kids for the 48th time? Something happened in the world today and something will happen in the world tomorrow. Check the news at another time.

Your wife is more important than sports.

3. Your kid’s brains are worth it

The example we set for our children by having our phones out sets them up to model that behavior for decades to come. If you think it’s hard now to put your phone done, and be honest it is; when you consider we have only had smart phones for what, 10 years now, imagine how hard it will be for your curly haired beauty to put it down.

Everywhere she looks there is an iPod, iPhone, iPad, iWatch, and soon cars that will be hooked up to TV because they drive themselves. It’s a scary thought. There is just no excuse ever to have electronics out at the dinner table as well.

For the analytical Dads out there, the book “Love, Not Guns” summarizes an article by The Atlantic which details what the average American puts in his/her head daily.

According to the studies, the average American watches TV for 148 daily minutes. That’s two and a half hours PER DAY spent staring at a wall. Throw that on top of the average American Joe with a daily screen time of 151 minutes distributed to iPhones, iPads, etc. This means that for 5 hours every day our children are hooked up daily on electrical devices.

With a bit of bias, Daily Dad hopes this is not your child.

4. Your Brain is worth it

Not withstanding some judgment right or wrong on screen time, that judgment is really up to you, but at the very least it’s worth also noting that according to Dr. Danny Amen there are 14 bad habits for brain health. 3 habits of which include excessive TV time, excessive time playing video games, and excessive computer/screen time. These 3 traits along with 11 others are precursors to a violent mind and highly causal in ADD/ADHD behaviors.

Think of it: screens work like mini-hits. The mind is looking for instantaneous pleasure to keep it going. Checking a score, the Asian markets, a news feed or your email can satisfy that hit. When done repetitively over time you have habits that become very difficult to unwire. Have you ever seen the video with 2 people laying in bed and instead of cuddling their faces are illuminated in opposite directions by smart phones. Same thing. That habit goes to bed with you.

Remember the old days when people used to read magazines in bed and fall asleep talking about what they just read? A Facebook feed will literally go on forever and ever and ever. Amen.

5. Education of your children starts with you

Having already covered modeling and brain health, it’s worth to plant some seeds. If you aren’t able to connect with your children, how will you know how to support and challenge them? True growth comes on the border of support and challenge.

Your child might be great at soccer, but he may only be playing soccer to please you. His true ambition might be painting or swimming. It may even be writing, but your son is getting C’s in English because he wants to write about sports, not about Jane Austen. The easiest way to access your children’s minds is at dinner.

If everyone is hooked up to a device, the only way you will know your spawn’s passio, is to creepily Facebook stalk the posts he liked this week. Not good. And frankly, awkward. It’s simple, it’s easy and it can be achieved by any family.

Disconnect the device dinner and re-connect the family.

So you are ready to disconnect and start filling your kid’s heads intentionally! Let’s pick up on a talent that has been around as long as humans – music. Consider ditching the phone and connecting to music. Check out Why Our Children Need a Music Education

Photo Credits: Ashley Sisk,  Joel, Inga, Bizzle

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Trackback from your site.

Jay Breitlow

A former pessimistic nuclear engineer turned optimistic and enthusiastic Chiropractor, author, Coach/Consultant, Blogger, wellness speaker and a very happily married husband and a very Happy Dad of 1.5 Children. "My passion is to help people find the authentic greatness that is already inside them - just waiting to be unleashed."Dr Jay can be found at his blog HappyDadsInc.

Comments (1)

  • Avatar

    Adele

    |

    Great blog! Even 10 years ago, the cell phone used to accompany my ex-husband and I on date night. Now I have customers thinking it’s ok to make me wait while they talk on their phone and it’s ME they want coffee from. I believe that society as a whole needs to wake up to the anti-social behavior that cell phones have encouraged…time to disconnect every now and then. Thanks for the reminder!

    Reply

Leave a comment