Why You Should Go Tech-Free At Family Restaurants in Ottawa
Does your family eat together? Do you turn off your cellphones first? There are many advantages to shared mealtimes, whether at home or in family restaurants in Ottawa, but increasingly, technology can interfere in a big way. A recent Pew Research survey found that 31% of cell owners say they never turn off their phones, and 45% say they rarely do. Here are some of the benefits to you and your kids when you dine together, especially technology-free.
We know that a larger vocabulary can help children learn to read. According to a study by Catherine E. Snow and Diane E. Beals, children who participate in conversations at the dinner table can dramatically increase the size of their vocabulary. Children in the study learned around 1,000 rare words during family meals as opposed to 143 words from parents reading aloud.
Eating family meals together in any setting, including family restaurants, can have a positive effect on your kids’ health. Studies have shown that children who don’t eat dinner with their families most nights of the week are twice as likely to use alcohol and tobacco.
Better academic performance
A good education is essential for success. As parents, it’s important to give children every academic advantage possible. A University of Illinois study found that boys and girls between the ages of 7 and 11 who consistently sat down to eat a meal with their family performed better on standard achievement tests.
Mind Your Manners
Most adults in Ottawa and the rest of North America learned their manners as children sitting at the dinner table or family restaurants. Their parents would correct poor behavior in a natural way when the situations arose. Mealtime is ideal for teaching kids not to talk with a full mouth, keep their elbows off the table, and ask to be excused before getting up. Unfortunately, even those parents who eat with their children can miss out on teaching these skills when technology is added to the mix.
Kids are easily distracted by texting and games on their cellphones – unfortunately, the same is often true of their parents. A study in Academic Pediatrics looked at 225 mothers and their children. During the Winthrop University study, moms were distracted by electronic media and missed opportunities to connect with their kids. With cellphones at the dinner table, the mothers and their children had 20% fewer verbal interactions and 39% fewer nonverbal interactions. It’s clear that tech-free family mealtimes make a difference. Hopefully, increased awareness will make a difference.
There are signs that we are moving in the right direction, however. Remember the Pew Research survey that found the majority of cellphone owners kept them on at all times? The good news is that when asked if it was generally okay to use a cellphone during family dinners, 88% of respondents disagreed. It’s a start!