Monday, January 14, 2008

Entertaining kids at Dinners

What do you do with your kids when there is a long dinner to sit through?

I know of some who bring DVD players or laptops to entertain their kids. Others bring electronic games (eg gameboy). I, for one, am totally against it. It is difficult to get a young child to sit through a long dinner, I agree. But if you try, it can work. It is difficult initally, but perserverence will win the day. But I notice some will just take the easy way out and say that their kids cant sit thru' a meal, and those electronic gadgets come out the minute they arrive, and remains on the table until it is time to go home!

I bought a DVD player for little D, but most of the time, I dont even let her watch it. Why? Studies have shown that too much tv for young children is no good. Also with those electronic games, I feel that the kids become "anti-social". They are so engrossed with the game that they become oblivious to everything around them. Sometimes, they dont even know what they are eating! It becomes addictive too after a while.

For my older children, what we used to do was to bring lots of drawing/coloured paper, and colour pencils / crayons for them to draw. If it was someone's birthday / wedding, they would make a card while waiting for food. If not, they were free to draw as they wish. As they got older, we changed it to puzzle / activity books, and subsequently story books /novels. That way they could entertain themselves without getting restless. Now, I dont even need to bring anything to entertain them. They are able to sit thru 3 hour meals with no problems.

With little D, I have yet to start on the drawing (as she still cant draw) but we are into educational sticker books. She loves them, but they can be quite expensive. I bring the DVD player occasionally, but it doesnt get brought out until I really have no choice. I find that for a 2 and a half hour dinner, she is able to sit through at least an hour and a half without fussing. She learns to socialise as well as learn good table etiquette. And the best part is - she knows her food!

Do give my suggestions a try!

12 comments:

eastcoastlife said...

As my hubby and I were often invited to functions, we sometimes brought my young son. He loves following his Dad around and he even went on stage when his Dad had to make speeches and give out prizes.

Yes, it looked weird at first but everybody got used to seeing this little boy tagging along.

So I didn't need to bring anything
to entertain him. He entertains people. hahaha...

Ling That's Me said...

this is a good tip! will try it as CNY reunion meal is coming :)

Iml said...

Totally agree. During my children's toddler days, we did exactly the same thing too.Papers and colour pencils are always in the bag. Once awhile an origami figure to keep them amused. No running around, it's so unbecoming.

mott said...

I'd let my kids draw. It's the simplest thing.

Either that..or we'll do origami la..boat, plane, ball.... easy stuff..keeps them bz.

Or..we'll finger play.

One day, they'd prefer us to be quiet. Sigh...

nyonyapenang said...

Yes, it's common to see parents with young kids bring along a bagful of barang-barang...from biscuits, dried fruits, books, crayons, games, etc...and the parents will bring out one at a time to keep the little tyke occupied.

Often times, wedding dinners especially....takes forever to start and not only the kids get restless...I get restless too.

bp said...

Great tips, thanks! Increasingly, I'm seeing that books (children's stories) work for my younger one, not just the older one, even when we are waiting for something, and it helps if I have a couple on me (in the car, or in my bag) to read to him.

Sweetiepie said...

great tips!i totally agreed with you with this.I don't like to let my kids to bring thier gameboy whenever we are out for dinner.I found it's rude.

Yan said...

Yes, they will be "readers and writers" in no time!

My daughter is 17. She has books with her while waiting. She draws. She designs.

And that was "nurtured" during her young days by her "no-so-great" mum :)

My son is 12. He also reads and writes and draws. He also had much of such times in his young days.

NomadicMom said...

Dvd is out lah... Abit too conspicuous...

When my boys were younger, they were the only grandchildren/nephews... So long dinners were no problems. ALways have grandpa or Ah Yees to carry all over the place..

Now, I prefer to arm them with a book or their gameboy (mute, please) rather than have them running around the place. They would be entertained until the food comes, then these things are put away... They are beyond "drawing pictures liow.." but not beyond running and chasing each other..and that is rather dangerous. (I know.. when I was younger, I ran around in a restaurant and I had the fish soya sauce spilled all over my head. I remembered bending over in the restaurant kitchen while my rinsed my hair!!!! hahahah Lucky it was not fresh from the steamer!)

Hazel said...

i agree with u too.. while waiting for the food, i will talk to Nelson and ask him some simple question. i can see many parents allow their kids playing pss o ps 2 now, it's worst.

Jenny said...

Ah, will be at that stage soon! Belle is always running around. Will have to remember to bring paper and crayons. Thanks for the tip!

Shannon's Mummy said...

Thanks for the Great tips! Will try to bring papers and pencil next time. :)