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Naomi Simson family

I was at a resort last week; what a great place to people watch – to be an observer of all things human. I noted a couple coming to the breakfast restaurant with their two tiny tots on their respective backs – I observed silently ‘how cute’.

The couple sat nearby with their 2 & 4 year olds. I was surprised to see the parents setting up two iPad’s for each of their little girls to watch (during breakfast)…. and as the meal progressed I noticed that both parents cheered every time either of their daughters put something in her mouth.

Agh….. fast forward ten years and wonder why many teenagers don’t speak to their parents and have an odd relationship with food.

Please, please parents – you can never start too early to teach your child the art of conversation… and that food is for nourishment not reward…. It is a ‘slippery slide’ once the ‘little electronic baby sitter’ makes it’s way to the dinner table.

I know you want them to sit still and be quiet, but most people in the restaurant do understand that kids are kids – and often express themselves enthusiastically. That is a good time for table games – like ‘eye spy’ (I remember playing that one with my son before he knew the alphabet – everything was a ‘pig’ or a ‘star’ – it was such a laugh.)

Take a moment to dream with your young one’s – to share a story – and to listen to them… and the rest of us in the restaurant will look on in awe.

Besides these are future employees and leaders in our community and we need them to be articulate and healthy.

Reader Interactions


  1. “It’s not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves, that will make them successful human beings” Ann Landers

  2. Naomi, your points about helping children learn how to connect with others are so very valid. As a teacher and director of a paediatric health and education service, I see many families whose struggles begin when, in an understandable desire to manage children’s behavour in public, electronic devices are quickly given to children to keep them occupied when they are required to wait, remain still or resist the urge to interrupt um and dad. Of course, when the ‘electronic baby sitter’ is not around to save the day, parents wonder why their children cannot display patience, courtesy and the range of other skills that they have not yet learned! If we are to build resilient, competent and capable kids, we need to equip them with the social and emotional skills they need for life…and teaching chidlren to have a conversation over a meal is a great way to start.

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