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Simple Tips for Preventing Technology from Taking Over the Dinner Table

Has anybody else noticed that you go to a restaurant these days and kids sit at tables with their parents, but they’re not interacting at all?! The kids are on iPhones or iPads and are zoned out completely, sometimes even wearing headphones. When did technology start taking over our dinner tables? 

Now, like most parents, I’m not saying I couldn’t use a little bit of quiet time to talk to my husband, but that’s a post for a different day!  

Instead of handing your kid a piece of technology every time you sit down at a restaurant table, try these ideas to get everyone engaged and enjoy some (hopefully entertaining) conversation as a family!

I Spy!

We often play this with my five-year-old daughter after we’ve ordered, but are waiting for our food. It’s easiest to play in a restaurant that has many colors, but you can make it work no matter where you are. “I spy with my little eye…something….blue.” And the others guess which object in the room you’re looking at! Pretty self-explanatory, and I’m sure there are other versions as well!

Which Hand?

I give my daughter a coin and we guess which hand she’s holding it in. For smaller hands, I would recommend a dime, as I gave her a quarter the first time and could totally cheat since her hands were too little to close around it! HA!


If you don’t have a pen of your own, I’m sure the waiter or waitress wouldn’t mind you borrowing one. Draw the hashtag and play away! Do you let your kids win? I do not! 

Questions About Your Day

Who was nice to you today? Who were you nice to today? What was your favorite part of the day? Who did you play with? Did you learn a new sight word? Help anyone in your class today with something that was difficult for them? Did you help your teacher with something today?

I know there are days where you just need some quiet time, but on those days where you can handle a little back and forth, don’t hand your little one your phone, talk to her or him, and best of all LISTEN. 

What’s Missing

This one is courtesy of Daniel Tiger on PBS! Have your kiddo pick 3 – 5 items from the table or your purse. Lay the items out in front of one person (usually the kids) and close your eyes. The kid chooses one or two items to remove from the table. Once that is done, the other person opens his/her eyes and tries to guess which item is missing. To make it harder, we remove multiple items and/or switch the items around. 

Do you have other ideas for what you do with your kids so that they aren’t attached to the iPad when you’re out at a restaurant? I would love to hear more ideas!

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2 Responses to Simple Tips for Preventing Technology from Taking Over the Dinner Table

  1. June McBain November 1, 2017 at 7:21 am #

    Great article Melanie! Looking forward to reading more. Congrats!

    • Melanie Corallo
      Melanie Corallo November 1, 2017 at 8:50 am #

      Thank you SO much June!! 💕