Child Psychology and Behaviour

Why Should You Not Feed Your Child With Screen-Time

Ambili S Kartha
1 to 3 years

Created by Ambili S Kartha
Updated on Apr 07, 2020

Why Should You Not Feed Your Child With Screen Time
Reviewed by Expert panel

Now a day, children are more into screens like phones and tablets. Many children need screens to eat food as well. Excessive screen time negatively impact the emotional and physical health of the kids. Many parents, or caretakers (for their convenience) are found to merge the feeding time and screening time. Although their intention is to make the picky eater eat more food and at the same time, avoid giving more screen time. But this habit is very bad for your child. So it's important to stop the kids using gadgets or watching TV during mealtime.  Distracted eating also has several side effects.

What Is Distracted Eating In Children?

Distracted eating in children refers to children eating food without focusing on what goes into our mouth. Their mind will be distracted as they may be reading a book, watching television or playing games while eating food.  Distracted eating is just the opposite of intentional eating, where they enjoy their meal and appreciate what they eat. In other words, during distracted eating, the children miss the track of quantity and quality of food.

Why Distracted Eating Lead To Overeating?

Appetite isn’t the only factor that influences the quantity of eating. Focusing on what you eat also plays an important role not only in healthy eating but also helps with digestion. After one starts eating, the brain takes 20 minutes to process the procedure and sending out I am full signals that turn off appetite. Therefore,  distracted eating and eating fast can result in consuming many more calories than you need in 20 minutes.

Side-Effects Of Feeding With Screen-Time

Excessive screen time and unhealthy eating behaviour in schoolchildren are found to related. Eating while distracted by a screen holds various negative impacts on the child. 

  • Increases The Chances Of Obesity: Eating while distracted by a screen makes it difficult to pay attention to hunger and fullness cues. This leads to overeating. Overeating increases the chances of obesity and related health issues. 

  • Increases The Chances Of Mal Nutrition: Children, especially toddlers who have access to screen all day, have a tendency to snack whenever they watch TV or Tablets. They more likely will skip the meals or refuse to eat the main course of food in time.  This may lead to malnutrition. 

What Is Mindful Eating 

Mindful eating is a practice of enjoying the meals by attaining the taste, texture, and flavour of food. Mindful eating :

  • Reduce overeating

  • Encourage the child to chew well the food and, thereby, improves the digestion

  • Help the kids to enjoy the smell taste flavour and appearance of the food in the fullest

  • Most importantly keep them away from  unhealthy weight 

How To Move The Child Towards Mindful Eating

  • The first step is to avoid all possible distraction during meals time.  Be strict in implying the rule of no screens, no toys and no books in the dining table.

  • Encourage family eating. It not only helps to take a successful step towards mindful eating but also helps to effectively introduce new foods to the kids. 

  • Make sure the child takes 20 minutes to eat his usual meal

  • If the child tends to eat fast, ask him to eat with less preferred hand. That is if the kid is left-handed ask him to use right hand to hold the fork and vice versa. 

  • Ask the child to chew the food well and take small bites or spoons at a time

Tips On Proper Way Of Feeding Child

Once the baby turns six months, you have to start feeding him solid food along with the breast milk to meet their increased need for proteins, vitamins and minerals.

Here are a few factors to taken care of while feeding the child

  • When its time to start solid food, you should continue feeding them breast milk.  However, you should feed the solid food first then after an interval feeds them breast milk. Remember, only if their stomach is not full, they will try new tastes. 

  • Introduce one new food at a time and continue feeding it for two-three days. This will help you to know if the child has no allergic issues with that food.

  • While introducing a new food, let them start with a small quantity

  • Avoid too much salt and sugar and spices for toddler’s food

  • Make sure the food prepared for the toddler is nutritious, yummy and easily digestible.

  • Never compel the child to eat food they don’t like 

  • Never compel the child to eat  more if he says he is "full."

  • Avoid food that causes choking

  • Never give them junk food. It not only negatively affects their appetite but also brings health issues. Remember, introducing a good choice and a bad choice of food to your child is purely your decision. 

  • Always try to give the toddler food prepared in the home 

  • Choose healthy snacks freshly made for the snack times

  • Encourage the habit of drinking pure water frequently throughout the day.

  • Let the child use a baby-sized spoon, cups and plates

Summary Takeaway

Now you know the importance of teaching your child the valuable art of mindful eating as early as possible. Mindful eating, unlike distracted eating, permits your child to have full control over the hunger and fullness cues. Remember the eating habits the kids adapt during the toddlerhood more often progress to adulthood. Therefore never club the screen time with the mealtime of your child. Also, try to have a family meal with your child whenever possible. It is found that. Family mealtime is more likely to eat healthy foods, less likely to develop obesity, do well in school, follow a healthy lifestyle in future and have stronger family ties.

Watch Next: How to Reduce Screentime During Mealtime?

This content has been checked & validated by Doctors and Experts of the parentune Expert panel. Our panel consists of Neonatologist, Gynecologist, Peadiatrician, Nutritionist, Child Counselor, Education & Learning Expert, Physiotherapist, Learning disability Expert and Developmental Pead.

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