To not like seeing toddlers on iPads/iphones in restaurants?

(257 Posts)
BlackberriesAhoy Mon 02-Sep-13 08:51:02

My first Aibu so I'm wearing flame retardant pants.

My dc are now past the needing entertaining at the table stage (thank jeff for that) but when they were younger (they are both still at primary school now so not ancient) we made the decision to not have electronic devices in restaurants. We took crayons, paper, a small box of Lego, games etc with us.

Please don't think I'm a pious non-electrical device using git. Dc would spend all day if possible on minecraft. They have DSs which they use on long journeys but a restaurant IMO is not the place for electronic stuff.

A few weeks ago we were at pizza express and a couple and their toddler were there. The parents alternately (and at one time both) sat using their phones at the table (texting etc) while their bored toddler roamed about the restaurant. Are we going to be raising children who cannot just sit around a table a eat/talk/entertain themselves without being plugged into something if we let them use iPads etc when out eating?

I remember the hell of taking toddlers out, I do understand but still...

Pascha Mon 02-Sep-13 08:54:51

I do - more or less - agree, especially if the parent isn't engaging with their child. However, there are times when the crayons have been dropped, the lego has been banged and the paper scrunched and the food still hasn't arrived and thats when a toddler-friendly app is the most wonderful thing in the world.

Judicious use is sometimes the most practical way of avoiding a meltdown and a hurried exit.

Totally agree. Emergency situations are different but on holidays 8/10 family had the kids sat watching iPads during dinner. How on earth are they meant to learn how to behave/ interact socially etc? I don't care if I get flamed I think it's lazy lazy parenting..and some people have it bloody loud too, I don't want to listen to peppa bloody pig while having my dinner thanks!

AnneUulmelmahay Mon 02-Sep-13 08:56:18

Ipads and electronic devices are the moderne way

I cant see how it differs from entertaining selves with crsyon/paper

However your gripe is about parents on devices, ignoring offspring

Marrow Mon 02-Sep-13 08:57:25

Watching CBeebies on the IPad is a sure fire way of keeping my toddler quiet and stopping him from disturbing other diners on the very rare occasions that we go out. We only get it out after he has got bored of the usual chat, books, drawing etc. We don't have a television at home so it is a bit of a treat for him and holds his attention. He wears headphones so there is no noise.

BlackberriesAhoy Mon 02-Sep-13 08:58:36

HA! I knew that example would backfire. My gripe is, will our children turn into those parents if we let them use iPads etc in restaurants.

I also think that papers, pens, Lego etc still involve the parents talking to the children, helping building etc rather than the zombified state we all go into when watching a screen.

CoffeeTea103 Mon 02-Sep-13 08:58:43

I agree with you!!! It's really sad to see how people are so involved in their own world and miss out.

I went out to a very expensive restaurant recently and was seated next to a table of 2 adults and 4 kids. Every single one of them were glued to a phone/iPad! My DH even said to me why bother coming out if you don't even appreciate being together.

BlackberriesAhoy Mon 02-Sep-13 09:00:06

I know what you are saying marrow but is your aim to eat out as a family or eat out as if your child isn't there (because they are silent and not engaged with you at all)?

Hmmm. DS is 3 and has been known to sit in a cafe (not usually a restaurant) with my phone. As said above we would always start with crayons, chatting and perhaps taking him for a quick walk around. But if service is slow and he's hungry or he's finished his meal and we're still eating then I will sometimes keep him entertained with it for 10 mins to eat my meal in peace.

I agree that kids and parents plugged into devices for a whole meal is disturbing but I think like anything else it can be used to good effect.

Faithless12 Mon 02-Sep-13 09:00:33

Yabu and yanbu. We don't on the whole take our iPad with us when we go out because we want to enjoy our time together as a family. However there has been one time, my birthday dinner when we had the iPad and DS wouldn't sit still so he watched something on the iPad and ate his dinner. I'm sure we had some judging looks but I don't care, they saw a snapshot of our lives.

ChrisTheSheep Mon 02-Sep-13 09:00:49

We use storybook apps on the iPhone if all other methods of entertaining DS have been exhausted and the food hasn't arrived yet. I'm working on the basis that it's more pleasant for everyone around us! Everything goes away when the food arrives: he's generally pretty good at eating in company, but I'd prefer to keep him occupied (quietly) at the table before then.

Trills Mon 02-Sep-13 09:01:27

Electronic devices are cleaner and less likely to get thrown than crayons.

If you have a toddler in a restaurant maybe sometimes you want to interact with them, but sometimes you don't particularly and the toddler is just there because you didn't have anywhere else to put them, so keeping them quiet and absorbed is a good thing.

FourGates Mon 02-Sep-13 09:01:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JeanBodel Mon 02-Sep-13 09:01:49

YABU. Why on earth would I carry around with me paper, crayons and a box of lego when I can just give my child my phone?

I do not agree with a child bring left unsupervised to play on a phone/tablet for hours and hours. But using a phone to distract a hungry child for 15 minutes while we wait for the food arrive - it's the ideal device.

I cannot fathom why a restaurant is not a place for electronic devices. Sometimes we don't go to a restaurant for an enriching slice of family time. We go because the kids are starving and can't walk another step without food. I'm talking about Pizza Hut here, not The Ivy.

BlingLoving Mon 02-Sep-13 09:02:17

Yabu. iPads are the 20th century equivalent of crayons etc. like any tool however, they can be misused.

You have multiple gripes in your op. parents on iPhones while eating and ignoring their dc is a different issue to providing a small child with a phone or iPad to stop them from melting down over dinner. The former is of course inappropriate. The latter is just practical quite often.

MysteriousHamster Mon 02-Sep-13 09:03:02

No different to crayons really, most apps don't involve staring gormlessly at a screen, do they? You usually have to do something and there will often/usually be ways for parents to join in.

We prefer crayons/chatting, but also take small toys and resort to phones quite happily if it means we don't disturb other diners by our increasingly hungry child!


mikkii Mon 02-Sep-13 09:03:39

We do take "devices" when we go out, but DC (9, 6, nearly 3) are not allowed them immediately, and not while food is there.

Would you rather my bored toddler screamed while you are trying to enjoy your meal?

And the example of normalising devices at the table. Surely by that arguement the use of crayons of books would translate into adults who read or draw during a meal? I think we can teach our children that expectations change as they get older.

Marrow Mon 02-Sep-13 09:04:57

Well aim is to have a nice meal out as a family. We have dd (8) with us who is not plugged into any devices! DS is very demanding and once he has started to get bored and fusses the IPad enables us (and other diners) to finish our meal in peace and enjoy our time with dd.

TheCraicDealer Mon 02-Sep-13 09:05:49

I don't have kids, but I know my repeated use of my iPhone and tablet has reduced my attention span drastically. I'm waiting in the dentists' now and MN'ing, I can't just sit and watch the world go by. To go through childhood were every minute you are constantly being "entertained" must really compound that for kids.

Faithless12 Mon 02-Sep-13 09:05:54

FourGates - how is crayon and paper different from a drawing app on an iPad? It involves just as much imagination...

LadyBigtoes Mon 02-Sep-13 09:06:06

I wouldn't take an iPad out, but I would let dc play on my phone, if they were bored/restless, and had nothing else to do while waiting for the food - not while eating. We might also do a quick text if necessary but phones get put away when food comes. I imagine other diners might prefer them playing something quiet to having a meltdown...

So YABU but it's just a question of degree - I think it's ok in moderation. But iPads playing telly programmes throughout the meal - not good.

How is it lazy parenting to give a child a phone but not lazy to give them some crayons and a bit of paper?

chesterberry Mon 02-Sep-13 09:06:53

I agree that ipads, hand-held consoles and phones etc shouldn't really be used at the table (by children or adults) but, shamefully, I have to admit to being a person who has, when eating out, sat at the table using my phone whilst waiting for the food. The person opposite me has sat on their phone. No children to entertain, but still totally unsociable.

I hate it but since I got a smart phone a year ago I find it increasingly difficult to stop myself from my almost automatic reaction to pull it out and check facebook/twitter/the news etc during a lull in conversation. The amount of times I will be sat with friends and we will all be on our phones (sometimes even part of the same conversation over facebook messenger!) is kind of embarrassing. My smart phone broke a few weeks ago and, in the week it took me to get a new one, I went back to an old nokia and in lots of ways it was great not to have the world at my fingertips - meant I actually did stuff!!

X post with Faithless

LoganMummy Mon 02-Sep-13 09:08:48

Totally agree with Bling.

We always bring crayons, mini puzzles etc but they only last so long. I have no problem in giving DS my phone so he can play games (usually CBeebies, colouring or counting) instead of running around the restaurant. We always play these games together so I don't see the problem.

Faithless12 Mon 02-Sep-13 09:10:07

hairylittlegoblin grin I'm watching this thread now with interest as I'm sure DH(illustrator) would be interested to know that he now must draw with only paper and pencil as otherwise he is not using his imagination shock

Sianilaa Mon 02-Sep-13 09:11:29

I think YAB a bit U.

My 4 year old was a bit challenging on holiday, out of his normal routine and comfort zone. Instead of a meltdown, the odd 10 mins of playing on my phone kept him entertained and stopped him disturbing other diners. We did try crayons, chatting, etc but he isn't fussed on colouring and it lasts two minutes. I don't see the problem with that tbh.

Having said that, I wouldn't let them play on it during a meal or for long periods of time without any interaction from us.

BlackberriesAhoy Mon 02-Sep-13 09:12:04

Phones/iPads are not the same as crayons/books etc. When a child is on an electronic device they are withdrawn from the social element of eating - and that includes the pre and post part of the meal.

Hobgoblin - it's not the same. Now (virtually) all adults have phones with them and by normalising the use of them at the table we ARE going to be raising a generation of children who consider it socially fine to text at the table, surf the Internet . Already I see teenagers and adults do it, how could you think that parents using screens to shut up their children is not going to have an effect in the future?

wonkylegs Mon 02-Sep-13 09:12:35

We mix up the entertainment - magazines, crayons, cars etc but also a bit of iPhone/DVD player.
Attention span of a toddler is about 2seconds even with adult input.
We have rules though - any other children at the table then no electronic stuff, no noise except with headphones, electronic stuff before OR after meal, we always sit and chat for a bit, choose food etc before electronics come out.
I don't think it's so much that it's a generation losing the ability to interact when out because you cannot compare the generations. When we were kids we rarely ate out in restaurants, now we got out an awful lot, either as a family or with friends.
I refuse to go to kiddie restaurants because if I'm eating out I want nice food so I have to be flexible in how I entertain my kids (& get them to behave) in an adult environment. My child is perfectly able to interact and does at many opportunities but there are times when a 5yo isn't going to want to discuss the state of the world, work, renovation plans etc.
FWIW I don't care what other people think as long as my DS is behaving well and not disturbing others.

usualsuspect Mon 02-Sep-13 09:12:47

Yabu, an iPhone drawing app is just the modern equivalent to crayons and paper.

Life moves on.

Some people don't like change, others embrace it. Do what you feel is right with your children and let others make their own choices.

I let my kids use my iphone/ipad in public. I couldn't give a gnats todger what anyone else thinks. Nobody elses business in the slightest. Plus we have colouring apps so there. Anyway of course you don't like ipads etc. You only like Blackberries. grin

DorasMummy Mon 02-Sep-13 09:14:52

YANBU. It does make me sad to see this. When we were on holiday pretty much every toddler (apart from ours) had an iPad/other tablet propped up in front of them at every meal in the resort restaurant (parents were a mix of Brits and other Europeans). I know it gives parents peace and the chance to talk, but surely at the age of 2 or 3 toddlers need to learn to sit at a table without constant entertainment and interact with the other people at the table.

I worry that kids will become totally reliant on passively being entertained, I do think there's a big difference with other kinds of activities. Crayons, Lego etc. involve imagination, discussion about what to draw/make and still allow for conversation (which Peppa Pig or a game app doesn't).

We have a blanket ban on using electronic devices to entertain the DCs as I fear they'd get so used to it that they wouldn't be able to sit at the table without them (I also fear my will power on saying No when I'm knackered and frazzled so would rather not start...) shock

cathpip Mon 02-Sep-13 09:15:24

The iPads come out when all else fails! But I do play with them on the iPad (jigsaws) oh and they are kept on silent. I don't want to hear sonic or angry birds whilst eating and I'm sure no one else does...... As pp have said iPads are the new versions of crayons!

Florin Mon 02-Sep-13 09:19:08

Electronic devices should not be at the table. We have a one year old so hard to keep amused however we take him out to a restaurant on a regular basis and he is extremely good, we have to work harder and keep him amused by ordering his food as soon as we arrive and then either give him bits of ours while we eat or sometimes order something easy to pick out like little prawns or something or put cut up grapes in one of those snack cups that keeps him busy. We also take a selection of books with lift the flaps and a few mega bloks to have if needed.
We went out to quite a nice restaurant a few weeks ago and while we were busy working hard keeping our son amused at the next table who had kids around 7ish they set up the iPad with Sponge Bob bloody square pants and let them watch it with the sound on! So we were paying quite a lot of money to sit it a lovely French restaurant with that in the background. Parents were reading the papers and on iPhones so I guess it was to be expected however it was so unfair to inflict it on everyone around them. I kept giving them death stares until they got the message!

MysteriousHamster Mon 02-Sep-13 09:20:05

OP, how is a drawing app different to crayons?

MorphyBrown Mon 02-Sep-13 09:21:40

But your example is a couple who ignored their child. It wasn't the toddler on an iPad confused

If you hand them to the child then it's no different from paper and crayons. In fact you can get drawing apps are the digital equivalent of an endless pad of paper and crayons.

Pantone363 Mon 02-Sep-13 09:24:06

People really carry crayons, Lego and mini puzzles around?

I call bullshit

midori1999 Mon 02-Sep-13 09:24:28

YABU. Not just because the child you mention wasn't even on a 'device'. hmm

We sometimes let my 2 year old watch something on my iPhone if out for a meal. Sometimes it's after exhausting crayons, books etc (if the meal takes longer than expected to come) sometimes it's because I forgot to pick up crayons etc and sometimes it's because I just want to sit and relax and enjoy my meal too. I spend the entire rest of the time entertaining my toddler, occasionally I want a break and my iPhone is usually (not always) a sure fire way of entertaining her so she doesn't disturb other diners.

Parents just can't win though, can they? Judged for letting toddlers scream or run about, judged for keeping them busy...

Faithless12 Mon 02-Sep-13 09:25:15

DorasMummy- " I do think there's a big difference with other kinds of activities. Crayons, Lego etc. involve imagination, discussion about what to draw/make and still allow for conversation (which Peppa Pig or a game app doesn't)."

It depends entirely on the app and the parenting. DS (2yr) loves an spelling app which is actually quite beyond him but we sit and talk about the letters and their phonetic sounds. Drawing apps - he tells DH he wants batman DH draws Batman and DS 'colours' him in. It's not the app that is inherently bad.

RedHelenB Mon 02-Sep-13 09:26:04

my grandparents would frown at lego or crayons in their day, life moves on YABU!

MinesAPintOfTea Mon 02-Sep-13 09:27:32

I only let DS use my phone when we're in public and him deciding to throw things around or yell about being hungry would cause disruption. At home its kept out of reach so I doubt its destroying his concentration span.

I do this because I like to go out for the day, which often means waiting for food to be served. At home when DS is waiting for food I distract, sing, let him bash cutlery etc, but when eating out keeping him quiet and contained is more important.

hazeyjane Mon 02-Sep-13 09:30:05

We always bring the ipad for eating out, we have 3 children - the ipad is so that we can all have a meal out together, without ds (3 with sn) disrupting the whole meal, it is a bit of an attempt at normality!

littlemisswise Mon 02-Sep-13 09:31:27

We never took Lego, crayons or toys when ours were small, we just took the kids. We spoke to them and played games like I spy etc.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 02-Sep-13 09:34:30

It's the modern world, it would have been crayons before.

Nanny0gg Mon 02-Sep-13 09:39:10

My DGC aren't in the least bit interested in crayons or colouring - always a fight at home.
Lego is easily dropped/lost.
IPad games can (and do) involve lots of 'Nanny, watch this!' 'Nanny, help!', lots of chat, lots of involvement. They are not left ignored, in the corner.

For whatever reason, however much 'discipline' is used, they don't want to, and will not sit for any length of time.

It's either the IPad or we don't go.

Tryharder Mon 02-Sep-13 09:41:23

TheCraicDealer said it really.

Since I got an iPhone, I am on it all the time. I annoy myself by being on it. I am unable to sit for even 5 minutes without doing or looking at something.

When I was young, we were expected to go on long car journeys with absolutely nothing to entertain us, not even the radio and certainly no food. My kids don't venture into the car without devices, DVDs, food and drink.

I have no idea if this is a good thing or a bad thing

waltzingmathilda Mon 02-Sep-13 09:49:36

Each generation moves along.

When I was a child it would have been deemed bad manners to have a book at the table, or indeed do anything other than sit sit there quietly and well behaved without any need for any 'entertainment' because we knew that when adults were speaking, you did sit there quietly, waiting to be spoken to. You did not whine, nag, moan, fiddle and general PITAs

By the time I had my oldest children, colouring pens were the norm or reading books. By the time I had later children, it was gameboys because everyone elses offspring had them you were opened up to The Whine.

Having been out with a my friend who has the worlds most attention seeking needy whiny 6yo brat ever put on this earth, plugging the little sod into an ipad is a blessed relief. Personally I'd like to plug him straight into the mains and do the rest of humanity a favour - but that makes me rather cruel doesnt it grin

Lottapianos Mon 02-Sep-13 10:00:17

'Lazy arsed parenting'

Agree completely. It's more convenient for the parents to avoid having to 'entertain' their own child so out comes the screen.

There is evidence that regular exposure to screens (TV, iPad, iPhone etc) causes problems with children's developing attention and listening skills, and language skills. Official advice (from the American Journal of Paediatrics) is that under 2 year olds should have no screen time whatsoever and 2-3 year olds should have only half an hour a day. So it may be more convenient, but it's not doing your child's development any good at all.

NoComet Mon 02-Sep-13 10:05:41

DD2 simply eats so little and so fast, that something to entertain her is essential if DH, DD1and me are to get a change to enjoy the meal we have paid for.

NoComet Mon 02-Sep-13 10:06:42


Crowler Mon 02-Sep-13 10:09:05

I hate to see this as well, but hey, life is kind of hard when you've got a toddler, particularly at restaurants.

When my were this age there were no Ipads so I pretty much avoided restaurants from the age of 1 - 2 or 2.5. I just wouldn't go, it was too hard. Maybe this doesn't actually mean that the family is disengaged, but rather it means that families that would otherwise stay home can take their other kids out to dinner.

Misspixietrix Mon 02-Sep-13 10:09:33

I think it's okay for DC's to use it for entertainment whilst waiting for food but weirdly it annoys me when adults do it. Yes fine when you are waiting for your food not when you are with family and friends I just think it's rude but thats just my opinion. Believe it or not my 53yo DM is the worst culprit for this. We went out for Lunch yesterday and as we was waiting in the queue there was a couple with a Toddler. Poor girl looked bored out of her mind whilst both Parents were on their phones over their Sunday Dinner sad ~

Nanny0gg Mon 02-Sep-13 10:13:50

Agree completely. It's more convenient for the parents to avoid having to 'entertain' their own child so out comes the screen.

Not always, and not for everyone.

But all of you, feel free to sit in judgement.

I wonder what aspects of your parenting I would take issue with?

AaDB Mon 02-Sep-13 10:14:33

Yabu. iPads are the 20th century equivalent of crayons etc. I agree with this so another YABU.

My family eat out much more than DH and I did as children. I don't remember halcyon days of family interaction. On the rare occasions we went out it was very boring. Once in a blue moon when my parents went to the pub we were left in a "children's room". This was a unsupervised room of bullies with a pinball machine in it.

DS gets loads of love and attention. We will often stop off for something to eat after a day at the park. library etc. He has attention lavished on him. I also think it is good for him to entertain himself for short spells.

I do carry a paper pad and pens; we also have a ds, tablet and phone. They are used exclusively on long journeys and when eating out. DS isn't really interested in them at any other time.

Judge away. We don't have babysitters and at home eat at the table without tv/electronics.

NoComet Mon 02-Sep-13 10:14:50

Also I bet the OP would be the first to start a thread saying "I hate seeing DCs running about in restaurants".

Some of us have no babysitters, it would be great to be able to eat out sans kids or at least minus DD2 when she was small, but it's not possible.

At 12, she's just getting easier to take out. Not because she's naughty, but because food isn't exciting to her. She eats to stay alive that's it. Then she wants to be off playing. She can do adult chatter beautifully when she wants to, but generally doesn't with her parents, because they are parents

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 02-Sep-13 10:15:44

It's not lazy arsed parenting. There were crayons, now there are ipads. Ours are older, all phones go in the middle of the table not to be touched. But when they were little it was crayons and colouring in.

cerealandtoast Mon 02-Sep-13 10:16:16

it all depends on what is being done on the ipad/ipod, surely. and how it is being done.

my children are, as often as not, 'glued to a screen' during wait times.

my eldest has severe ASD, and an ipad is a Good Thing, believe me. However, look a little more closely, and you'll see that the activities are varied: reading, spelling and maths for starters. If the wait time goes on, then a bit of piano practice, or colouring will creep in. Stories, telling the time - all this done while waiting for lunch to arrive!

My younger child likewise uses an ipod (also has Aspergers). Probably not as essential in this case, but not a lot wrong with it, and the range of activities is as above.

I really don't see any difference in colouring on a ipad or colouring on paper (except no dropped crayons, and never running out of paper). Stories are stories, and having many to hand immediately is a bonus. And getting any reading/spelling/maths work done (and making them think it is fun!) is *always& a good thing.

The problem of parents ignoring is either going to happen or not, whether using real paper/crayons, lego, whatever. Some parents ignore, others don't.

ToysRLuv Mon 02-Sep-13 10:17:37


Crowler Mon 02-Sep-13 10:18:50

^ Fair point. There are people who don't allow their kids any screen time at all. What would they say, OP?

My boss allows his EIGHT YEAR OLD daughter to watch only the occasional David Attenborough DVD (true story - we visited them for a week). I try to remember this when I'm feeling judgy.

I'm with you on this OP.

hazeyjane Mon 02-Sep-13 10:26:18

Also I bet the OP would be the first to start a thread saying "I hate seeing DCs running about in restaurants".

Yes to this^^

I have seen so many threads on here about noisy children running around in restaurants etc, and am aware that ds can be very noisy and whilst not running around, tries to lie down on the carpet. Dh and I spend half the time taking him for walks to try and keep him entertained, but sometimes it is nice to be able to all sit down together and enjoy being out together, that would be why you might see our 3 year old 'glued' to an ipad whilst we are out in a cafe or restaurant.

SoWorriedPleaseHelp Mon 02-Sep-13 10:37:56

I work on the basis that as long as other peoples kids are not spoiling my enjoyment of a meal out, quite frankly I don't care what they are doing to keep them occupied.

We always take gadgets with us. They don't start off with them but after a while the colouring in gets boring and I would actually like to relax myself.

cansu Mon 02-Sep-13 10:40:19

Ok I have two children with ASD. If we don't take an iPad or portable DVD player with us then the alternative is shouting, screaming and other non socially acceptable noise which I think is probably worse than the electronic device. Believe me I would love to converse with my dc whilst we have a lovely family dinner out but as my two children can't speak and also can't actually eat at the same table together more often than not then that's out. Why can't people stop judging others? Since my children were diagnosed I have managed to stop doing this. If I see something that I disapprove of I take a deep breath and repeat 'its none of my business'. Yes it's nicer your way op and that's great that you can have that and that your kids are beautifully brought up etc etc. it isn't that easy for everyone else.

justwondering72 Mon 02-Sep-13 10:40:33


I have no problem with my child or anyone else's playing jigsaw games, puzzles, reading stories etc or even playing non educational games on a 'device' if it makes eating out a more pleasant experience for all concerned. With toddler s in particular parents usually have to help them pay the games anyway, and they are just as interactive as books, crayons and other tools.

I would probably get a bit more judgey if they were basically watching tv at the table especially with the sound turned up. Anything that disrupts other diners is not acceptable. Like with any tools or devices, there are appropriate and less appropriate ways to use them.

K8Middleton Mon 02-Sep-13 10:43:42

Yabu. Toddlers are reluctant dining companions at the best of times but in public where their behaviour can ruin several people's meals it is sometimes necessary to use a distraction and an iPhone/ipad/DVD player is a good option because it is compact, has a wide variety of things to entertain and it keeps dc quiet.

The alternative may be staying in and that's a bit miserable or going out and being a nuisance.

Those of you who feel electronic items are some how less worthy are on a par with those who think small children should only play with wooden toys.

needaholidaynow Mon 02-Sep-13 10:51:04

You'd have your Judgy pants on if you saw me with my 2 year old then! smile

needaholidaynow Mon 02-Sep-13 10:52:11

^^ Above post was to the OP re. iPads and iPhones.

ToysRLuv Mon 02-Sep-13 10:52:39

DS (3) is so unimpressed by food and restaurants (very picky and meagre eater) that we hardly ever go out to eat in a "proper" wait-for-your-food fashion. When we do go out "properly" (maybe twice a year for family gatherings), I do everything bar handstands (he dislikes drawing/colouring and doesn't care for lego, which I think is inappropriate for restaurants anyway, for being fiddly and loud when pieces inevitably fall on the floor or creations get dismantled on the table) to entertain him and then take the kindle out, so I can scoff down my (by now) cold meal in 5 mins flat. That is, until he gets bored with electronics and wants to run around, which I will not allow.

I recognise that at his age he is not always able or willing to sit still for long periods of time, and I can't reasonably make him, so will wait a few years until I try to have more than a quick grab of food at a cafe. Not all children are the same and I'm sure most parents try their best to raise "proper future citizens", but they might get there in different ways. I'm sure DS won't want to scoff down his tiny meal in 2 mins and then run around pretending to be a train when he is in his 30s, but maybe he will?

We never went to restaurants when I was his age. If we went and "misbehaved", we could be threatened with a smack. I guess that would make most children sit down quietly in a way that looks "sophisticated"..

LadyBryan Mon 02-Sep-13 10:57:38

Agree completely. It's more convenient for the parents to avoid having to 'entertain' their own child so out comes the screen

Sweeping statement much?

My DD usually takes her iTouch out with us. sometimes she doesn't want to use it. Sometimes she likes to play something with us. Just because she doesn't have a bit of paper/a crayon in front of her, doesn't mean we aren't interacting.

we have the absolute rule in our family of no phones/devices on the table whilst we're eating. Works for us.

Do what works for you.

ToysRLuv Mon 02-Sep-13 10:59:55

Although I must say that I'm not impressed with devices turned on loud. Either have them on quietly/silently or use headphones. If possible.

jungletoes Mon 02-Sep-13 11:01:19

This sums it up for me, beautifully. Hope the link works..

jungletoes Mon 02-Sep-13 11:01:49 no it hasn't, sorry.

Tailtwister Mon 02-Sep-13 11:03:06

I don't see how something electronic is much different from a pad and pen or some Lego. I usually have an ipad on me (I don't have a smart phone) and it has some books on it (Wind in the Willows is a lovely one). I get it out whilst we wait for our food and read quietly to the DC. Once the food comes it goes away and usually stays away unless we have coffee/chat with friends.

I don't like seeing children playing on games etc when there's food at the table, but don't see the issue otherwise.

jungletoes Mon 02-Sep-13 11:03:48
Sparklysilversequins Mon 02-Sep-13 11:03:58

Dd uses the one of many drawing apps on our IPad. Thus covering all bases. Is that ok?

jungletoes Mon 02-Sep-13 11:04:09

Yay, it worked that time. It's worth a view.

My ds is 2, and if we dare to go to a restaurant, it is armed at least with an iPhone, if not an iPad. He doesn't give a shit about crayons, and his idea of playing with his trains is currently to smash them as hard as he can into things.

An app, or an episode of Thomas on YouTube, lets us all eat in relative harmony. YABU.

He'll be more social when he's older, but ATM, I need to think we can actually join the wider world on a rare occasion and eat out, and I prefer to do it without a toddler melt down and the associated judgey looks.

Although, maybe I'm getting them anyway, according to your op.

Soditall Mon 02-Sep-13 11:08:48

I hate all the fascination with phones and computers that children seem to have from such a young age now.So I agree with you OP,I've taken my children to restaurants since they were only a few weeks old and I've never taken anything electronic to keep any of them occupied.

I do wonder sometimes what the much older generations 60+ must think when they see the way we parent these days.

JerseySpud Mon 02-Sep-13 11:10:32

There is no need for a 1,2,3,4 year old to know how to use an ipad/iphone.


hazeyjane Mon 02-Sep-13 11:12:03

That is great, Soditall, but not all children or families are the same, most people are just doing their best you know.

As for older people looking in wonder at children on ipads etc, do you really think that if these things had been around 50 years ago, they wouldn't have used them?

hazeyjane Mon 02-Sep-13 11:15:42

JerseySpud, the ipad we have actually belongs to ds (3), it is great for him, he enjoys drawing apps, tracing apps and games that help with matching and fine motor skills. As he gets older, it will be incredibly useful for him to have skills on the ipad as part of his education.He is completely non verbal and we are hoping to get funding for an ipad app that can be used as a communication device - believe me there is every need for him to know how to use one. It has been an amazing tool for him.

Parmarella Mon 02-Sep-13 11:15:58

It does not bother me, I might well have used it if it existed when they were younger.

I remember the debate, similar to this, how walkmans ( personal stereo) were going to turn my generation into anti-social addicts.

ToysRLuv Mon 02-Sep-13 11:18:22

There is no actual need for children to do much else but eat, sleep and go to the toilet. <shrug> The rest is choices and they vary with each parent and each child. Quite validly. My dgf used to play with sticks and pebbles. They were very poor. He now loooooves tge telly grin.

Parmarella Mon 02-Sep-13 11:18:54

Soditall, in my family the ONE person most addicted to his ipad is my 78 year old dad...he is no longer allowed to use it during dinner though grin

needaholidaynow Mon 02-Sep-13 11:31:59

There is no need for a 1,2,3,4 year old to know how to use an ipad/iphone

Why? What harm will it do?

I work in a restaurant. Id rather every table was filled with kids on Ipads etc than running around under my feet waiting to get hot coffee spilt all over them.


Faithless12 Mon 02-Sep-13 11:34:42

There is no need for a 1,2,3,4 year old to know how to use an ipad/iphone

How about knowing how to build one? In the next few weeks DS and I are building a computer so I can ignore him some more. wink

Lottapianos Mon 02-Sep-13 11:35:59

'There is evidence that regular exposure to screens (TV, iPad, iPhone etc) causes problems with children's developing attention and listening skills, and language skills. Official advice (from the American Journal of Paediatrics) is that under 2 year olds should have no screen time whatsoever and 2-3 year olds should have only half an hour a day'

It can actually cause harm needaholidaynow, especially for under 2s

Lottapianos Mon 02-Sep-13 11:37:31

Why are the only two alternatives
a) kids running wild, lying on the floor, screaming etc
b) watching something on a screen?

forthill Mon 02-Sep-13 11:38:10

We went out to a restaurant while on holiday on a Scottish island, and used the ipad to stop a toddler meltdown.

Our 2 year old is usually great in restaurants, but that evening she was very loud and difficult. We had all the usual paraphernalia - crayons, books, craft kit etc. None of it distracted our fractious little girl. To give the other diners some peace, I had to stand outside in the rain with her while we waited for our food to arrive. I suddenly realised we had the ipad, to my great relief.

I don't think a single diner in that small restaurant hoiked up their judgey pants at the sight of a toddler with an ipad. They were all so relieved that she had stopped squawking.

You've got to go with the flow in life, rather than rigidly applying one-size-fits-all rules.

Fakebook Mon 02-Sep-13 11:38:26

YABU. I'll give my toddler whatever it takes to keep him from screaming (and he has the shrillest scream you'll ever hear).

I get a few disapproving looks from hoity toity types when I've given my DS the iPhone in the pushchair and he's happily scrolling through an alphabet app. I don't care though. A few moments peace for me and the general public whilst I whip around the shop to pick up bits is better than a screaming child who'll deafen everyone.

baddriver Mon 02-Sep-13 11:40:55

What about at church? Kids huddled round an iPad on the floor. Seemed kinda strange to me...

LadyBryan Mon 02-Sep-13 11:44:15

How about Kindles?

My daughter (6) sometimes reads books on mine - is that ok?! Great stuff for "boring" waits like GPs, opticians etc.

Surely as with anything it is about how you use it. To be honest I don't see how shoving a piece of paper with a pack of crayons at a child is any more interacting than giving them a device. Of course you can interact with children with a variety of things.

But then I suspect the gripe in this thread isn't so much what the children are using but whether the parents are interacting.

When a child is on an electronic device they are withdrawn from the social element of eating6

Which of course they're not when drawing... You've obviously never tried to hold a conversation with my 5yo when she's drawing!

MrsOakenshield Mon 02-Sep-13 11:46:55

well, we don't have any devices to give DD, so she has had to learn to behave in restaurants without these! It can be hard work for us, but she is (I hope) learning how to behave in these places which is a good thing, surely. Even if we've gone out to eat spur of the moment, a napkin and a biro can suffice. She doesn't run around or screech, we supervise her closely and if things are taking a while we take her out for a few minutes and go and chivvy the kitchen along.

I'm not against these things in general, but I think learning to get on without them is good. I kind of think (sorry, this is going to sound very smug, which is not how I mean it to be) that because it's such an easy option, some (though not all) parents just had the phone over immediately without making any attempt to try something else. I know someone who automatically, without ever trying anything else, hands her son the phone when he has to go in the buggy - in fact, I can't remember the last time he didn't have it.

hazeyjane Mon 02-Sep-13 11:47:13

*Why are the only two alternatives
a) kids running wild, lying on the floor, screaming etc
b) watching something on a screen?*

I don't think anyone is saying that? Most people are saying that the ipad is useful when their dcs are starting to get bored and starting to play up.

Ev1lEdna Mon 02-Sep-13 11:50:32

*I work in a restaurant. Id rather every table was filled with kids on Ipads etc than running around under my feet waiting to get hot coffee spilt all over them.


Right, I agree. Better that than in danger of getting under-foot or getting scalded. I find the tablet etc rather useful, even with my older children and make no apologies for it. We also sometimes play boxes together and/or talk - it's a mix. Honestly - if you don't want YOUR child to play on them, fine but really quit the judgmental crap and mind your own business about other people's parenting. It really isn't affecting you.

hazeyjane Mon 02-Sep-13 11:51:23

Yes, MrsOakenshield, and my dd's also sit nicely (most of the time) when we are out, and never look at the ipad etc when we are out. BUT all children are different, and ds is another story. He will sit for a short time, and be entertained with some drawing for a short time, but when it starts getting difficult, for the sake of some nice family time with our dds and for the sake of everyone else in the cafe, then yes we will get the ipad out.

DukeSilver Mon 02-Sep-13 11:51:45


I think it's sad. I have a very very strong willed 3 year old so I know the appeal of an easy distraction but really try to avoid it at all costs.

I got offered a free tablet a couple of weeks ago but turned it down because I was worried I would let her use it too much to give me an easy life.

tomverlaine Mon 02-Sep-13 11:52:02

YABU- lack of interaction is the problem not the entertainment device.
For what its worth - why aren't you concerned about interacting with your children in a car journey?

Lottapianos Mon 02-Sep-13 11:52:31

MrsOakenshield, I've seen that too - a screen is the first option rather than a last resort.

LadyBryan Mon 02-Sep-13 11:54:10

MrsOakenshield - I agree with that some parents see it as the easy option.

But I also think its important to allow an element of choice and if DD decides that she'd like to use her iTouch then that's fine.

Sometimes she doesn't want to.

Either way she can behave herself completely - we've been dining out since she was 5 days old grin and we are yet to have a tantrum/a request to run around a restaurant etc. She's now 6.

SuffolkNWhat Mon 02-Sep-13 11:55:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Faithless12 Mon 02-Sep-13 11:57:28

MrsOakenshield- There may be some parents that are like that but you are making a bit of a generalisation. As I've said before we don't take our iPad out with us, we have our phones obviously and DS has only used the iPad once when we have been out. However, when he is on the iPad he isn't sat absorbed by it with us (DH and I) ignoring him, we are talking to him and involved in the app selection etc.. So to say it's the easy option is ridiculous because it's not the tool that makes it the easy option but how it's used.

KingscoteStaff Mon 02-Sep-13 12:19:56

We were at a beautiful outdoor pool the other day. Fantastic weather, sun sparkling on water, green grass to play on, big pool, little paddling pool with fountains...

I spotted 3 children sitting on sun loungers playing with ipads WITH TOWELS OVER THEIR HEADS so that they could see the screen.


We are (apparently) the only family in the world with no hand held devices. We also made it down to Devon and back with just I Spy, Scattergories, the name game and Test Match Special on the Radio.

DoJo Mon 02-Sep-13 12:28:04

I quick google suggests that there is roughly as much research suggesting that screen time is good for children as there is suggesting it is damaging. I also don't think that having an iPad turns an engaged and interactive parent into a lazy one - it may be another crutch for a disengaged parent, but I doubt having an electronic device completely changes someone's parenting style.

ToysRLuv Mon 02-Sep-13 13:00:59

I think a (near) total ban will drive some children to go in the opposite direction in adulthood when they can make their own choices. Also, have heard that some children whose screen time gets very severely restricted at home will then spend entire play dates at other children's homes watching telly, playing on the computer, etc. even if host child asks to do something else..

5Foot5 Mon 02-Sep-13 13:12:22

I agree with you OP. We took DD in to restaurants from about 2yo but we never had problems because we talked to her about things she was interested in and included her in the conversation.

I have often seen families out for a meal where the adults seem to want to just chat to each other and ignore the kids and then either the kids get bored and make a nuisance of themselves or the parents pacify them with some electronic gadget. I don't blame the kids for being bored. It can't be much fun if the conversation is going over your head and you are just meant to sit there and tolerate it.

After all, if you took another adult out for dinner and then proceeded to exclude them from the conversation that would be very bad manners indeed and your fellow diner would have the right to feel upset about it. Why would it be any different with your kids?

hazeyjane Mon 02-Sep-13 13:35:24

We took DD in to restaurants from about 2yo but we never had problems because we talked to her about things she was interested in and included her in the conversation.

And that works with some children, and not with others.

if we didn't have the ipad, we'd have to focus so much attention on ds, that we would have to ignore our dd's, and it wouldn't be such a great eating out experience for them!

SoupDragon Mon 02-Sep-13 13:40:34

Are we going to be raising children who cannot just sit around a table a eat/talk/entertain themselves without being plugged into something if we let them use iPads etc when out eating?

Did you raise children who cannot just sit around a table and eat/talk/entertain themselves without a box of crayons/lego/games? Or did they, perhaps, grow out of needing entertainment...? There really is no difference.

If you provide entertainment of any sort, you are restricting their ability to learn how to just sit and talk or stare into the distance and let their minds wander. They get it eventually.

SoupDragon Mon 02-Sep-13 13:41:38

I agree with you OP. We took DD in to restaurants from about 2yo but we never had problems because we talked to her about things she was interested in and included her in the conversation.

But you don't agree with the OP. She took stuff along to entertain her children. It just wasn't an electronic gadget.

TooExtraImmatureCheddar Mon 02-Sep-13 13:58:44

After Saturday's experience in Wagamama I am never eating in a restaurant with DD again until she turns 18, so I shan't be there to be judged. However, we couldn't resort to phones/tablet as she chucks them around violently and falling from table-height to a hard floor would probably have smashed them. Not to mention pouring water/juice on them or dropping them in her food.

DD is 18 months and managed to throw food an amazingly long way, plus grabbing at water glasses and creating nice little lakes on the table. DH, having drawn the short straw and sat next to her, was covered in soup and sticky sauce by the end of the meal, as was DD, and she'd eaten approximately 4 grains of rice. She then tried to climb out of the highchair and screamed when she was restrained. I'd have loved to give her an iPad and actually managed a tiny bit of conversation that wasn't "here, DD, play with this. Oh, don't want that? Try this instead. Here, have an ice cube/drink of water/napkin/chopstick/bubbles to play with. No, you can't have the glass/salt/soy sauce/chilli oil/my plate/DH's plate. Here, try a bit of this. Okay, what about a bit of this instead? No? What about some of Daddy's soup? Okay, now you've splattered soup up Daddy's sleeve. Sit back down and stop trying to escape! Shh, shh..." and repeat.

<rocks gently at memory>

zingally Mon 02-Sep-13 14:10:16

I don't have a smart phone, and do find it rude when I go out to eat with someone and literally the first thing they do is pull out their phone to "check in on Four Square"! Who gives a s***? They just don't seem to realise how rude it is. Have people forgotten how to make small talk?

As a child in the 80s/90s, we didn't have any of that. We sat at the table and talked to the people we were with. And we absolutely DID NOT get out of our seats to wander round the tables. Frankly, it never would have occurred to my sister and I that that was something we could do. And if we had? We'd probably have gotten a smack on the bum for our trouble. ;)

BlingLoving Mon 02-Sep-13 14:15:02

Actually, the more I think about this, and read this thread, the more unreasonable I think OP and all who agree with her are being. Why do we all feel the need to judge other parents of toddlers? For pity's sake, we have no way of knowing how those children will turn out and we don't know what mistakes we're all making. Surely each family has to work out what's best for them based on what resources they have and the personalities of the family members involved?

We did not go to restaurants with my parents until we were older because my parents had live in child care. As we got older, we were allowed to read a magazine or do colouring in, but no wandering around the restaurant. As we got older still, we were allowed to go with my parents to "nicer" restaurants and were expected to either engage in conversation or sit quietly. Each stage was moved onto naturally, based on the maturity of my brother and me and was not impacted as far as I recall by what other people did.

When you see a family with a toddler on an ipad, maybe the secret is not to think, "my god, what terrible parents, that chlid will never develop social skills" and instead take a minute to think, "oh look, that family is getting their child used to being out in public but clearly find they have to do it carefully."

I'm so sick sick sick of the constant parental judging.

BlingLoving Mon 02-Sep-13 14:17:11

And all those people with memories of not being allowed to get up etc etc, you do realise that therefore you're talking about when you were older right? Not the toddler age group that most people are banging on about here. As per my comments above, I know because I've been told that my brother and I were not allowed to join the family for meals out at this age, but I don't remember it.

forthill Mon 02-Sep-13 14:21:46

I agree with you, but rather than being "sick sick sick of the constant parental judging", I actually find it a hoot.

I don't think the judgey types realise how funny they are. And being judgmental, insecure and status-conscious, they would be horrified if they realised other people find them funny!

MrsOakenshield Mon 02-Sep-13 14:22:25

just like to draw the attention of those who responded to my post to the fact that I did say, quite clearly, that 'some (though not all) parents hand the phone over straight away' - next time I'll highlight the words 'some' and 'not all'.

iwantanafternoonnap Mon 02-Sep-13 14:24:44

I give my DS 3 my phone to keep him quiet as otherwise he would never stop talking and sometimes I want to speak to an adult. As a single parent with no contact from DS father I am rarely without DS. Plus I talk to my DS all the time and he needs to learn that sometimes he has to be quiet and let adults talk.

BlingLoving Mon 02-Sep-13 14:25:25

Forthill, you're a bigger person than me! grin I can't help getting irritated, but you're right, I should laugh. And I do genuinely find some of this judgy stuff funny. Just for some reason, I'm not doing so well at laughing today!

Sirzy Mon 02-Sep-13 14:27:12

DS is 3 we use whatever method needed a combination of techniques to keep him happy at the table when waiting for food. That will sometimes include playing on my phone.

The phone is normally the option for at the end of a busy day when he is knackered and starving. Other times it tends to be colouring and sitting talking.

If people want to judge then feel free!

yoniwherethesundontshine Mon 02-Sep-13 14:32:06

In this country I think anyway possible to let the children be quiet is best. There is zero tolerance for DC making any sort of news so eating out is a fraught affrair.

forthill Mon 02-Sep-13 14:34:33

Just to be clear, I find the judgmental types funny on Mumsnet, but it would be harder to cope with in RL.

Actually, I've noticed that my successful, high-flying friends tend to be very laid-back about their kids (people with Oxbridge firsts and doctorates who let their kids play with iPads shock - and the kids are still articulate and charming shock shock )
The only set of pushy parents I know both have unimpressive careers. Not sure whether there's any kind of link....

I don't like seeing adults striding through shopping centres or streets with their eyes fixed on their screens and not giving a fig about who is round about them.
I detest seeing talking children with a dummy ever at the table
ipods etc at a table .......not while there is eating going on but maybe in a quiet lull it wouldn't bother me.

We don't let our have iPods at the table (they don't use mobile phones at home) but when DH and I were having coffee/drinks after dinner on holiday (in the bar area) the DCs were fine to use them.

JenaiMorris Mon 02-Sep-13 14:50:32

Oh, it's pretty much the only thing I get all superior over. YANBU grin

Bursts of screen use are fine, especially once dinner is over and the children get ansty, but as a kind of default it's crap. I feel the same about DVD players in cars. And I'm not keen on crayons at the table either. Children should take in their surroundings, stare out of windows, get a bit bored without maybe.

I is hardcore.

Sirzy Mon 02-Sep-13 14:52:35

Children should take in their surroundings, stare out of windows, get a bit bored without maybe.

which is great to the point whereby they start annoying other diners. There is a fine line between the two and with young children in particular it doesn't take long for that to happen.

In the car it is a bit easier because your not having to consider the feelings of others

forthill Mon 02-Sep-13 15:07:39

Exactly Sirzy, and the judgmental miseries are so wrapped up in their own superior parenting skills and their utterly amazing and perfectly-parented progeny that they can't imagine that other diners in restaurants might be irritated by their brats.

forthill Mon 02-Sep-13 15:09:46

In fact they probably imagine everyone in the restaurant is looking at them admiringly and saying "Not an iPad in sight; such an examplar of perfect parenting."
No - they just want to eat in peace.

ToysRLuv Mon 02-Sep-13 15:17:30

I think sometimes you can't win if you've got a highly strung small child (they do exist - it's not a synonym for "naughty" or "spoiled").

I've done the thing, if I've been meeting up with friends (happened a couple of days a week at most), where I have given DS more snacks and toys or even my phone to distract him for a short time, so I can exchange a few words with a friend without having to shout over the child's screams/crying. Had I not done it, then I would likely have gotten the friend complaining about me only concentrating on entertaining DS and not engaging with her at all, or only over DS's screaming.

So - if you think a person is always doing something like handing a child a phone if they will refuse to sit in the pushchair otherwise - then please consider a) how often do you actually see these people and does that qualify as always b) would you like the possible alternative (screaming child and preoccupied mum/dad leaving you to not have any opportunity for chatting)? In all likelihood the parent would love it if DC was sufficiently appeased/entertained for hours merely through charming conversation, people watching and an educational (wooden) puzzle, but reality is a bit different for most..

JenaiMorris Mon 02-Sep-13 15:18:44

Ah, but if a child is engaged in conversation, at a civilised volume, with their companions then they won't be bothering other diners.

Mine was always very, very well behaved in restaurants but I was fortunate in that he was visiting restaurants almost daily from a few days old. There was a fair bit of luck there but I do think I managed to do a good job.

There are plenty of other things I've been utterly rubbish at though, parenting-wise.

Sirzy Mon 02-Sep-13 15:20:37

but thats not always possible. some children don't want to engage in conversation all the time. Its great to say they should and I agree with principle but sometimes that simply does not work no matter how hard you try

JenaiMorris Mon 02-Sep-13 15:22:06

I'm not suggesting that people should take their babies to restaurants every day to train them btw grin

I worked in a restaurant and had friends in most of the other places in town, so it became part of the routine to stop for coffee/lunch whatever. They all loved him of course wink

MOTU Mon 02-Sep-13 15:30:20

When they're old enough to hold/follow dinner conversation then fine but my daughter is 2 and the drawing app on my ipad is a noise and mess free way of her entertaining herself while she waits for her food and means I don't have to ignore the rest of the table answering endless "what's this?" And "why?" Questions! I do however agree about adults who sit in a restaurant ignoring people/children at the table to play on their phones-height of rudeness!!

I don't actually give a flying fuck what you or anyone else thinks on the matter and will parent my children as I see fit.

That was to the OP BTW.

MaMattoo Mon 02-Sep-13 15:47:08

Are you judging the parents for being device obsessed or the child?
My parents were not allowed to talk at the dinner table, I was not allowed to read on the dinner toddler is allowed apple devices on the table and now you say no...

Move along with change, or move aside and let the others do so. Don't judge please...

Technology is a part of our lives more so than ever with it! iPads are creative, engaging and well designed learning devices...

beepoff Mon 02-Sep-13 15:47:16

I know quite a few parents who let/encourage their children to play with the iPad while they're eating at home. Is that better or worse? Better because it's not necessarily during quality family time, or worse because the parents are not doing it to keep the kids quiet for other diners?

Personally OP I think YANBU - we as a society spend way too much time in front of a screen and IME toddlers are rarely satisfied with just one simple silent app for long. I'm guilty of covertly MNing while feeding my baby. But I reserve the right to change my tune when my baby is a toddler!

Sirzy Mon 02-Sep-13 15:51:37

Beep - I bet when the baby is a toddler you will change your tune, I certainly did!

Personally I don't think (other than for children with SN or food issues) ipads should be used whilst eating at home or when out. The issue is that when out and about most places you have to wait at least 20 minutes for the food to arrive and that is a long time for young children

MrsOakenshield Mon 02-Sep-13 15:53:13

Actually, I've noticed that my successful, high-flying friends tend to be very laid-back about their kids (people with Oxbridge firsts and doctorates who let their kids play with iPads

Not sure what your point is - after all, the question is (if you think this matters), will their DC be successful high-flyers with Oxbridge firsts and doctorates? Because those successful high-flyers won't have spent their meals out playing on stuff like this.

yoniwherethesundontshine Mon 02-Sep-13 15:55:22

The only set of pushy parents I know both have unimpressive careers. Not sure whether there's any kind of link....

who knows I imagine your oxbridge friends however didnt have access to i phones etc so we would need to see whose DC do the best in terms of accademic success.

Pinkpinot Mon 02-Sep-13 16:05:24

I don't like seeing it
I don't think a drawing app is the same as colouring, fine motor skills??
But understand you can't get a 2 year old to draw
Recently I watched a couple on holiday completely ignore their 8 year old, who played on something for entire meal. My 6 year old was running me ragged, and I thought, yes I could give him my phone, but couldn't give in.
I can't stand the zoned out look, and it just generally feels like they aren't part of the family

Faithless12 Mon 02-Sep-13 16:11:45

So you can't colour on a drawing app? Using a stylus?

Sirzy Mon 02-Sep-13 16:16:35

My 6 year old was running me ragged, and I thought, yes I could give him my phone, but couldn't give in.

So you let your stubbornness ruin a meal for you and quite possibly for others around you?

cubedmelon Mon 02-Sep-13 16:21:27

YABU, our phones come to the rescue a lot in restaurants and saved my life on a coach transfer from airport to hotel recently. (DC are 2 and 3.5) They wouldnt be allowed to use it all the time but we do also let them play on them on sunday mornings in our bed so we can doze for half an hour!!!! I know, I am an appalling parent. Summon social services immediately!! wink

Its all in moderation though because other than that, they wouldnt go on ipad or phones.

cubedmelon Mon 02-Sep-13 16:27:44

Just to be soon as the food arrives the devices go away but until then I'm all for it. There are some really good apps...the cbeebies one in particular is popular with my dc.

LittleBearPad Mon 02-Sep-13 16:32:36

There's a time and a place for them but your OP is flawed because the parents were on their phones and the child was running about.

Pinkpinot Mon 02-Sep-13 16:39:43

Sirzy, he was running me ragged, wasn't bothering anyone else. Not literally running! But yes, I know life would be easier for me if I gave him the phone. But I don't want a child who needs that instant gratification, so I resist.
Faithless, I don't know anything about stylus' , i was just thinking finger swipes, but its somehow not the same as real colouring. Just my opinion

ToysRLuv Mon 02-Sep-13 16:42:54

How does it differ with regards to "instant gratification" whether dc is getting "gratification" from running you ragged or playing on an ipad?

Sirzy Mon 02-Sep-13 16:44:29

So he was running you raged but was quiet and not disturbing anyone else? Somehow I find that rather hard to believe.

Sounds like cutting off your nose to spite your face personally. 6 year olds can't be expected to just sit and enjoy waiting for a meal in the same way as an adult can. Some form of entertainment for them just makes sense

Turniptwirl Mon 02-Sep-13 16:45:39

I would rather have a child quietly occupied than being naughty and disturbing everyone else

I agree it's lazy parenting if its used all the time and in place other any other distraction or way to amuse your child, but to shut them up and keep them in their seat while you wait for food they are absolutely fine.

Pinkpinot Mon 02-Sep-13 16:47:49

Toys, you mean I'm gratifying him?
I was trying to teach and control his behaviour, but it was exhausting. I'm trying to teach him manners and conversation. It's not that relevant here, he is a whole other subject, I just posted to say I could make my life easier by giving him a phone when we go out to dinner, but I don't want a child that expects to be given something to entertain him all the time.

Pinkpinot Mon 02-Sep-13 16:51:40

Yes Sirzy, exactly that. You might not be able to imagine it, sorry about that. Cutting my nose off to spite my face, not quite, I'm not going zero tolerance on behaviour to spite myself. I'm trying to bring up my child, it's bloody hard

Some form of entertainment is definitely necessary but it doesn't have to be a phone. We play games like 20 questions, or try to name an animal starting with every letter of the alphabet, and we have little kids charades cards and we play that (quietly!). We look like loons (and would clearly annoy the pants off some of you!) but the kids really enjoy it and so do we. It's only 20 minutes or so! I don't expect them to enjoy it when they're 13 but hopefully they won't expect to be getting their phones out at a restaurant.

My DC do play on my phone - it's great for DS when DD is doing her swimming lesson, for example - but there's something about sitting round a table for a meal that makes having phones out seem wrong to me. That goes for parents and children.

Sirzy Mon 02-Sep-13 16:54:05

I'm trying to teach him manners and conversation

You know that can be done whilst still not forcing a child to sit still when they are obviously not in a mood to do so and they are causing problems for you and others?

ketchupontoast Mon 02-Sep-13 16:54:33

I personally agree with the OP. I have been brought up that table manners are highly important, never being allowed the tv on in the other room while we ate. We had to switch everything off and it was family time. We weren't taken out for meals until we were able to sit for the duration of the meal and sit appropriately. We weren't allowed to leave the table until everyone had finished or walk around the restaurant. We used to enjoy meals out from myself being about 3 and I was able to sit for the duration without ever feeling the need to be occupied or wander around. It was the norm that the family meal either in the home or out was just the same.

dirtyface Mon 02-Sep-13 16:55:02


kids need to learn to behave in restaurants without being bribed with mums ipad / phone etc

i took both mine in restaurants from a very early age and now at 4 and 7 they sit lovely, have good table manners and do not expect to be "entertained"

in fact the other day DD (4) and i, were having lunch with 2 friends and their dcs. and my friends 4 YO was up and down from the table, butting into our conversations, running about, disturbing other tables and generally stressing his mum out. my DD just sat there good as gold looking at him a bit strangely as it just would not occur to her to behave like that.

ToysRLuv Mon 02-Sep-13 16:55:57

But can't you see that doesn't make any difference with regards to "gratification"? It's all the same for dc's entertainment whether you work hard to entertain them (so hard you feel run ragged) or whether they are entertained by an ipad game. Maybe your dc is now consequently going to always need someone constantly wittering on at them about their preferred conversational topic to ever enjoy a meal out.. Or maybe all dc develop a bit of patience and understanding when a bit older?

hazeyjane Mon 02-Sep-13 16:56:58

I know it's hard to believe, but I am actually working really hard to help ds to sit somewhere like a cafe, as well, I don't just chuck an ipad at him so I can kick back.

FunnysInLaJardin Mon 02-Sep-13 16:59:30

YABU and a bit of a snob. Would you rather the child ran about shrieking which no doubt my toddler boys would have done?

Sirzy Mon 02-Sep-13 17:00:14

What I really hate on these threads is the "well my child can sit nicely" type comments. Well bully for you, not everyone has a child with the same personality as yours!

9 times out of 10 DS will sit happily, sometimes he needs some extra entertaining. I am not going to be a martyr and force him to sit complaining making life harder for me and the meal uncomfortable for everyone else around us.

Pinkpinot Mon 02-Sep-13 17:05:03

Sorry Sirzy and Toys, but you do not know the situation or my son. I'd appreciate it if you could stop opining on what happened. He did not bother anyone else and - I wasn't working hard to entertain him, I was trying to teach him

Sirzy Mon 02-Sep-13 17:07:17

Sorry Pinky, but if you don't want people to comment then I suggest you don't post on the thread!

Sorry if you expect everyone to agree with you, but don't get upset if they don't!

Pink I think you're getting a hard time. What you're doing is the right thing and you know it.

ToysRLuv Mon 02-Sep-13 17:09:27

dirtyface: So your children are different to the friend's ds? That is a shocking discovery, isn't it? Your dc might sit down for ages happy just eating and listening to conversations, but maybe friend's ds is ace at football and maths? Why compare. I'm sure the parents aren't loving the aspects in his personality that make him very energetic and hard to persuade to sit still, but at least they've got understanding friends hmm ? I guess you would not have been happy for him to play on an ipad either, as that is not what your children need?

Actually, do we subscribe to children having innate differences/personalities, at all? Last time I had a personality psych lecture (in 2005 admittedly), the latest info was that the nature/nurture debate was now found to be rather heavily in favour of nature..

silverten Mon 02-Sep-13 17:10:20

You've phrased your AIBU rather inaccurately, TBH.

But really, what is the difference between a child being kept occupied with a phone and colouring app, and some crayons and paper (apart from the mess, waste and inconvenience)?

I recently had the supremely irritating experience of sitting at a table full of relatives at a wedding whilst keeping DD (overtired and overexcited) occupied quietly with just such a device. B&G had arranged colouring but it'd got lost in the chaos and I wasn't about to interrupt their fun demanding child-specific entertainment to be magicked out of nowhere.

However when it did turn up (someone thoughtful noticed and found the pens and paper) and DD started to colour, said relatives all happily commented loudly about how that was 'more like it' despite DD doing almost exactly the same activity using slightly more old fashioned materials than before.

As it wasn't the time or place, I resisted the temptation to point out to them the ridiculousness of this opinion or their selfishness in not lifting a finger to talk to DD or give me any help in occupying her, if they cared so bloody much what she was up to.

ToysRLuv Mon 02-Sep-13 17:13:45

Pink: Tell us all how to override nature? Maybe some of us shouldn't ever breed. You and IHeart are allowed, though. smile

So, were you or were you not run ragged? Did you just repeatedly tell him to sit still and be quiet? Anything else counts as entertainment if ds is entertained (which you say he was, e.g. he wasn't miserable or disruptive), I'm afraid..

Toys I get what you're saying but (genuine question, not sarcastic) are you saying that you can't teach an energetic child to behave in a restaurant, or that you shouldn't bother trying? I would find that quite hard to believe.

I taught secondary for years and the basic behavioural expectations are the same for everyone. Some children find it harder to stick to them, but that doesn't mean they don't have to. I would think that teaching your energetic child to behave in a restaurant without an iPad would be doing them a massive favour which might really help them at school.

FunnysInLaJardin Mon 02-Sep-13 17:16:07

same here Sirzy my 2 boys can sit and enjoy a meal as a family at 3 and 7 and are getting better as they get older, but they are really not the sitting still for long types and so the kindles are great and allow DH and I to finish our meal in peace. Anyhoo I really don't give a shit if I'm judged, it truly goes right over my head

Sorry, I didn't mean 'your' actual child!

ToysRLuv Mon 02-Sep-13 17:24:21

IHeart: I try to teach ds to some extent, but when ds has absolutely had enough of conversation and games, and is going to explode otherwise, then I get the kindle out, because I don't want him to be disrupting other diners. Because his reluctant and fussy eating and energetic highly stung personality we very rarely eat out. His skills in patience and level of understanding is going to be much better in a few years, so I suspect we can and should demand a lot different behaviour from him then. Certainly in time for secondary school.

ToysRLuv Mon 02-Sep-13 17:25:38

Ds is 3 (nearly 4), btw.

Pinkpinot Mon 02-Sep-13 17:26:18

See you have no idea!
I didn't once tell him to sit still because he can't. And I didn't tell him to be quiet, because I wanted him to interact.
Of course I don't expect everyone to agree with me, I specifically said ' just my opinion'
But you have no idea of my particular situation that day In That restaurant.
If I gave the impression that my ds is an angel, that couldn't be further from the truth. His behaviour has been shocking, but I don't believe that letting him play On my phone In a restaurant will solve any problems
There is a much bigger issue here, which is why I'm saying you know nothing if my situation

Sirzy Mon 02-Sep-13 17:26:25

Toys I get what you're saying but (genuine question, not sarcastic) are you saying that you can't teach an energetic child to behave in a restaurant, or that you shouldn't bother trying? I would find that quite hard to believe.

You can but having a "you sit there while we wait for tea" approach isn't going to do that.

Building up the time gradually is the key, so sit talking or whatever for 5 minutes and then when the boredom sets in district them a bit and them give them something to entertain them. Next time talk for a bit longer.

You can't expect it to just happen overnight, and some days will be worse than others!

Sirzy Mon 02-Sep-13 17:28:14

But pink YOU are judging others when you don't know their situation. So its not ok to judge you based on what you post but you are happy to judge others who parent differently to you?

Pinkpinot Mon 02-Sep-13 17:28:29

Thank you King Thistle

Pinkpinot Mon 02-Sep-13 17:30:11

Who the fuck did I judge?

Sirzy Mon 02-Sep-13 17:30:49

by saying you don't like seeing it, describing it as a "zonked out look" sounds pretty judgemental to me!

Pinkpinot Mon 02-Sep-13 17:35:10

Er no I don't like seeing it, is a personal opinion and I don't like the zoned out( did I say zonked, didn't mean that) refers to my child
I looked at the table next to me and thought, yes I could give my child a phone and my life would be easier.
I did not judge them, their child is completely different to mine

ToysRLuv Mon 02-Sep-13 17:36:16

Pink: I understand what you mean and good for you! Only that has nothing to do with the shunning of "instant gratification". I think most parents with a "difficult" child try to increase their attention/patience span the way you are doing, but would simply get the devices out at the same moment as you'd judge it time to leave on account of ds having had enough. You can further stretch a child that way, so you can have a hot lukewarm coffee after a meal and a stress free chat with another adult for another 10 mins.

sameoldIggi Mon 02-Sep-13 17:36:17

They use iPads in schools now too you know. Maybe the kids were doing their homework wink

Spottybra Mon 02-Sep-13 17:37:37

Mmmm, I would say YABU in your opening title but not in your gripe about parents on phones and toddlers running around.

Since DS was 20 months we've had child friendly apps. At 4yrs he now plays alphabet and maths games with a parent whilst we wait for a meal. DD at 2yrs prefers the xylophone and drum apps.

We do however, put our phones away when the meal arrives and talk about the food, what we can see through the windows, our day, etc.... Together as a family.

If we didn't I would be controlling 2 small restless and hungry children whilst DH texted, emailed, and took business calls.

Sirzy Mon 02-Sep-13 17:38:16

I can't stand the zoned out look, and it just generally feels like they aren't part of the family

You may not have meant to sound judgemental but to me that sounds it

sameoldIggi Mon 02-Sep-13 17:38:16

Dirty face, don't you think the gender differences between your and your friend's dcs might have had something to do with it too?

Pinkpinot Mon 02-Sep-13 17:41:29

Sirzy, I'm talking about my ds and my family!

bakingaddict Mon 02-Sep-13 17:43:53

I really dont care as to what way a parent gets a young child to be moderately well behaved in a restsurant as long as it achieves the same net result i.e allows yourself as a family and all the other diners to enjoy their meal too. Why the need to look down on other parents. Nobody sets out on the premise whereby you think I want to have a crap time with naughty kids spending nearly a hundred pound and have the rest of the restaurant look down at me but you know shit sometimes happens and you have to deal with it by whatever means possible

Pinkpinot Mon 02-Sep-13 17:45:07

Do my posts seriously read like I am looking down my nose at families with iPads? Or I have we'll behaved children in restaurants?
I swear I'm not, and I don't have!

Sirzy Mon 02-Sep-13 17:45:19

Your post doesn't make that clear though in any way and people aren't psychic!

Pinkpinot Mon 02-Sep-13 17:52:41

Maybe I should have given my entire life story with ds grin

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 02-Sep-13 17:53:14

entertaining a child in a restaurant doesn't mean you aren't teaching them manners

it can't be just me who entertained children in restaurants with crayons and even nintendoes eventually and now has children with manners who know how to behave in restaurants

klmnop Mon 02-Sep-13 17:54:36

YABU. I am not a lazy parent! I spend alot of time actively engaging with my 21 month old doing all manner of activities, however I don't think it is unreasonable to want to be able to enjoy my meal when out as a family. Crayons and toys are all very well and entertain her for a while, but they get thrown around and on the floor and I end up spending all my time picking them up while my food goes cold. I really don't think it's unreasonable for her to watch Peppa for 10-15 minutes on the Ipad while my husband and I finish our food. We always have the volume down low so I actually think it's less intrusive on other diners experience than the toys and crayons option which frequently involves me having to get up or ask my little girl to be careful! Technology is part and parcel of the world we live in and with regard to apps, many of them are just as involving as crayons and toys.

bakingaddict Mon 02-Sep-13 18:00:09

Nobody needs to divulge life stories but just perhaps a bit of compassion and sympathy for parents who dont have model behaved children. BTW I do have well behaved kids in restaurants but my heart goes out to parents who have more difficult to control kids

ToysRLuv Mon 02-Sep-13 18:01:16

For the record, I would LOVE it if ds was into drawing or colouring. I was constantly drawing at his age. I mean, constantly. I must have been an easy to entertain child in that respect. However, in those days drawing was frowned upon in restaurants (not that we really ever went, anyway).. grin

Alisvolatpropiis Mon 02-Sep-13 18:02:01


Pinkpinot Mon 02-Sep-13 18:02:23

Erm-I don't have a well behaved child, I thought that was clear from the start

forthill Mon 02-Sep-13 18:03:09

The problem with these internet forums is that people get entrenched in their positions, sometimes with ridiculous outcomes. Most people are decent, and are just trying to do a good job raising their children.

Is there anyone on this thread who would actually inflict a toddler meltdown on diners in a restaurant rather than handing over the iPad IF they were aware that an iPad would avert said meltdown?

In other words, does your determination to keep your toddler away from an iPad trump other people's right to a quiet meal?

If so, maybe you are guilty of thinking the word revolves around your little one. Perhaps in this case it might be better to avoid restaurants until the toddler years are over.

bakingaddict Mon 02-Sep-13 18:07:25

Well said Forthill

forthill Mon 02-Sep-13 18:46:11



............[whispers] does that mean the argument is over?

Sirzy Mon 02-Sep-13 18:47:25

Well I think you are spot on forthill

ToysRLuv Mon 02-Sep-13 18:49:06


Cocodale Mon 02-Sep-13 18:52:41

I agree, I'm always surprised to see very young children glued to iPads when waiting places such as at siblings clubs.

My children are older but I used to talk to them and read/play games while we were out my now 13 yr old loved coming out for a drink with me at a cafe as a toddler.

ToysRLuv Mon 02-Sep-13 19:03:41

Maybe not, forthill.. wink

forthill Mon 02-Sep-13 19:14:12

I don't think she has read the last bit of the thread...

DollyClothespeg Mon 02-Sep-13 20:25:25

People really carry crayons, Lego and mini puzzles around?

I call bullshit

I do. That's no bullshit. (Well, ok maybe not the Lego, or mini puzzles, basically because they'd go everywhere!)
We go out for tea fairly regularly, and they're complete pains if they don't have something to do so we take some sheets of paper, pens (to play hangman and 'squares' on or whatever!) or if they don't want to play games with us then they can draw their own pictures or write their own lists. They like creating lists of favourite things confused grin
Completely can't understand the obsession for phones when out. You see people texting/ringing/fiddling/farting about with them constantly. What's so important that it can't wait until you get home?

Sirzy Mon 02-Sep-13 20:28:24

I always have paper and pen in my handbag and often a couple of crayons, but strangely some days DS doesn't fancy doing that!

JugglingChaotically Mon 02-Sep-13 20:39:23

I agree with OP but go further and generally banned my DCs from crayons too! (European relatives would have had a fit at crayons!).
When DD1 little we started with one course meals out over lunch only, then 2 and we will always remember our first meal when we got to (2 courses plus) coffee!!! Older 2 DDs now very good company over dinner, DD3 almost there. Hard work and lots of short meals but worth it in the long run and we did spend on babysitters for adult meals on the very odd occasion to keep us going over the years.
But each to their own.

Backtobedlam Mon 02-Sep-13 20:42:35

I spend all day every day interacting with and paying my children a lot of attention. Occasionally at the end of the day it is nice not to cook/wash up but for us all as a family, go out for dinner. By this time kids are often tired, hungry and fractious, and I see no problem in having a drink and chat with DH whilst they play (often educational) games on our phones or on the iPad. They still are taught to put it down and thank the waiter or waitress when they bring over drinks, or ask a question, and as soon as the food arrives everything goes away and we eat and chat together.

They colour, draw, play Lego or do puzzles at home where they have my full attention, so it makes no sense to me to be multitasking and making life more stressful for everyone.

DollyClothespeg Mon 02-Sep-13 20:45:04

I don't have kids, but I know my repeated use of my iPhone and tablet has reduced my attention span drastically. I'm waiting in the dentists' now and MN'ing, I can't just sit and watch the world go by. To go through childhood were every minute you are constantly being "entertained" must really compound that for kids.

You know what? That's a really good and interesting point. For the past few weeks, we've had no consoles for them to play on, and recently they've got them back. (They haven't got phones or anything.)
The attention span has drastically gone downhill the past few days, and they've forgotten how to entertain themselves if not plugged into something.

dogindisguise Mon 02-Sep-13 21:47:27

I probably would have agreed with your before I had children. Now, however, I have a 2.9-year-old and in the last 12 months have acquired my first smartphone and iPad. And they (mostly the phone - I don't normally take the iPad out and about with me) can be a godsend! DS will do crayoning for about five minutes, then drops the crayons on the floor. And sometimes he will just sit and chat with us, but we can't rely on this. So they can be a real help when waiting for food. We don't eat out often as it's not much fun with small children.

Soditall Tue 03-Sep-13 08:32:00

I wonder if the use of electronic devices to help keep children settled when out and about is seen in the same way as children being left in front of the tv?

I ask because I can remember there being huge debates only a few years ago on the tv,in newspapers and on sites like this stating that parents were using the television as a baby sittter(not my words)and how bad it was for the child and Mum's were being slated everywhere(because it's never the Fathers choice apparently) hmm Yet using ipads and phones to help keep children occupied doesn't seem to have been frowned on in the same way.

Lumpybumpymuma Tue 03-Sep-13 08:50:11

Totally agree with the OP.

I get cross with DH if he gets his blackberry out at the table so would be hypocritical of me to let DCs sitting there doing just that. When we are on holiday I always pack a little 'out to dinner' bag which has evolved from having crayons and colouring to word searches and puzzles as the kids have got older. We are often complimented on how nicely our children have sat during a meal grin but it does take a little forethought!

SoupDragon Tue 03-Sep-13 09:05:16

Is there a difference between completing a puzzle with a pencil and completing one on an ipad though?

Soditall Tue 03-Sep-13 09:13:02

I think there is,I think with an ipad or similar the person gets more pulled into that and is far less aware of they're surroundings and the people around them than if they're using a piece of paper and a pencil.

Sirzy Tue 03-Sep-13 09:16:31

So I guess you would be against children reading books then sodit? I doubt anything pulls children more!

SoupDragon Tue 03-Sep-13 09:24:31

So, doing a wordsearch on a piece of paper with a pencil is better than doing a wordsearch on an ipad with a finger or stylus confused

I really don't get it. I do think that, in some cases, people thing "electronic gadget! Bad!" without considering what the child might be doing on it.
They could be reading.
They could be doing maths puzzles.
they could be learning phonics
They could be doing logic problems.
They could, of course, be playing sodding Minecraft.

I don't think the problem is what they are being entertained by but that they are being specifically entertained at all. I know my children are incapable of doing nothing but this is not just related to ipads etc. It is also caused by them not being made to learn the art of sitting letting their minds wander or simply talking whilst waiting for something and this is caused by the never ending crayons and toys etc produced whenever we had to wait for something. They were incapable of waiting long before ipads came along.

The problem is made worse by the intolerance by others of normal child behaviour. Certainly I was made to feel I had to take stuff for them to do in case they annoyed someone.

Sirzy Tue 03-Sep-13 09:30:57

Good point soup. I think a lot of that comes from parents feeling the need to entertain their children from such a young age and not allowing them time to be bored. I am constantly shocked at threads on here whereby people are worried that their 6 week old baby isn't being stimulated enough by the 20 baby groups they are going to each week.

DS is very good at entertaining himself, and will sit and be 'bored' for a while - perhaps me being a slack mother has helped that!

mrsmika Tue 03-Sep-13 09:39:59

We went to Pizza Hut last week and the little girl on the next table was watching a Peppa Pig DVD!
The volume was up full and the little girl (about 4yrs old) wasn't the slightest bit interested in the bowl of salad she'd been given for lunch.
Mum, however, was stuffing her face (and feeding her t-shirt by amount of it down the front!) and ignoring the little girl. Not once did she speak to the girl, despite the girl talking to her Mum! I was angry and sad!

arethereanyleftatall Tue 03-Sep-13 09:47:03

Yabu. And a judgy snob.
I want to enjoy my lunch out.
If I only teach my girls one thing woulda choose not judging others over whether they use a device or not.

MrsOakenshield Tue 03-Sep-13 09:56:44

tbh, arethere, if I really want to enjoy my lunch, I won't take DD at all grin! contemplates the dim and distant past of boozy lunches, without a small child, without a shred of bitterness, oh no

MrsOakenshield Tue 03-Sep-13 09:58:15

one place that I never entertain DD on is trains. I love gazing out of the window on trains, thinking my own shallow thoughts, and I'm damned if they're going to be interrupted by anyone!

arethereanyleftatall Tue 03-Sep-13 10:04:02

I think that's it though Mrs oak. Everyone has different places they want to interact with kids and different places they don't. For me, at a restaurant I would give them an iPad. But we've all been role Playing with Dollies a all morning in my house this morning for the last 3 hours.
My point is you have no idea of e strangers life outside of the restaurant.

LadyBryan Tue 03-Sep-13 10:05:57

SoupDragon - excellent post.

For US there's a clear line - ok to play with device before food arrives. As soon as food on the table, ALL devices go away (and that includes the adults too) and we enjoy the meal as a family.

But I certainly don't judge anyone allowing their child access to a device during a meal - would far rather that than their child cause disruption to my meal!

Soditall Tue 03-Sep-13 10:16:51

I never said I was against anything.

I just find it strange I suppose when I was younger(only 38 so not a million years ago)we would be taken out for meals and restaurants weren't really geered towards children then,there was no coloring pages and crayons given out by the restaurant staff lots of the restaurants didn't even have a specific children's menu but we managed we were fine,we'd sit and have a conversation.

The same as we do now and for the record I'm disabled now and we have two children that are disabled and asd and we have five children in total so were not some stepford familiy!

I made the decision very early on with my first son to take them out to restaurants with us and I think it's served us well they've all gone out with us to restaurants from a few weeks old and we carried on through the terrible two's so they didn't get out of the habit of what they're behaviour should be like whilst there.

We still go out regularly to eat together and we always get great comments about how well behaved all the children are from other diners and the staff.

Soditall Tue 03-Sep-13 10:20:07

SoupDragon that was exactly what I was getting at.

There's a different report every few weeks about how it's not good to over stimulate children and how they need to be allowed to be bored as it helps the imagination to grow and helps older children to learn to be independent.

I can rememeber being bored beyond belief as a child and it never did me any harm quite the opposite I think it did me good.

Bonsoir Tue 03-Sep-13 10:22:18

I'm not especially bothered by DC on iPads or whatever during "waiting time" in restaurants.

I really object to toddlers in buggies with a dummy in their mouth and an iPad on their laps.

Sirzy Tue 03-Sep-13 10:23:41

We get comments how well the children are behaved to, and shock horror they sometimes play on a phone for a little while. The two aren't mutually exclusive.

TheYamiOfYawn Tue 03-Sep-13 10:28:21

YABU. I have a fingerpainting app on my phone for when the children are waiting and bored. It frees up space in my handbag which I can fill with sticking plasters and nettle sting cream. I also carry a couple of small transformer car/robots, 2 fingerpuppets and a couple of teeny books. Crayons and Lego take up far too much space when there is such a good alternative.

Soditall Tue 03-Sep-13 10:29:41

But does no one worry that in say 20 years time everywhere you go people will be so engrossed in they're computer phone ect that we'll all be ignoring each other?

We went to a really nice restaurant the other day,quite expensive and there were two adults sat across from us so not hard to spot on computers completely ignoring each other and the poor waiter when he tried to take they're order and then when he tried to serve them they're food.

I noticed them because the poor waiter had to keep repeating himself and ended up having to raise his voice so much that everyone looked over to get them to stop zoneing out and to actually acknowledge him.

BoozyBear Tue 03-Sep-13 10:31:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Sirzy Tue 03-Sep-13 10:37:18

But does no one worry that in say 20 years time everywhere you go people will be so engrossed in they're computer phone ect that we'll all be ignoring each other?

But that is why we have to teach children about Moderation. For our generations the technology is a new exciting thing, even 5 years ago people wouldn't have had ipads. For children now its just a part of every day life so why treat it any different? Making it something forbidden is more likely to cause issues in the long run imo

ToysRLuv Tue 03-Sep-13 11:01:14

Everything new changes things. Change is hard to swallow, as it's in our genes to fear the "unknown". For example, books (and literacy) and film changed our folklore story telling traditions -yet would anyone now exchange books and film back for oral traditions? Various new inventions have been seen to "corrupt" the youth and erode society beginning from hundreds of years ago, so the fear/loathing of tablet devices is just part and parcel of an understandable human tendency.

I agree that, generally, adults shouldn't sit at a restaurant just staring at a screen and not interacting at all. However, I think that those people are fairly rare and probably quite rude by nature anyway, so would just find something else to engage with instead of conversation (e.g. reading a physical paper). I think fair exceptions would include going out for a quick lunch with a workmate when both are completely shattered from having talked to customers all morning and jointly decide to sit there quietly reading the news (or something). It's never ok to ignore the waiter, though!

forthill Tue 03-Sep-13 11:10:07

Soditall said "We went to a really nice restaurant the other day,quite expensive and there were two adults sat across from us so not hard to spot on computers completely ignoring each other and the poor waiter when he tried to take they're order and then when he tried to serve them they're food."

But Sodit, you have no idea what the situation was. Normally my husband and I wouldn't dream of looking at our iPads while in a restaurant, but a few weeks ago we had both been on work trips, and managed to meet up for a meal after a lot of travelling. We are selling a flat, and absolutely had to wade through various urgent emails from the estate agent and the solicitor, and then discuss everything with each other before responding to the emails.

You might have been sitting there watching us and pursing your lips about it, but it would have been an ignorant thing to do, as you wouldn't have understood that it was an exceptional situation.

Generally, you shouldn't judge people on the little snapshots you see of their lives. It's a bit like curtain-twitching!

ToysRLuv Tue 03-Sep-13 11:12:47

Exactly, forthill.

K8Middleton Tue 03-Sep-13 11:17:51

One thing is certain. That couple did not have iPads growing up so there is no evidence that giving a small child an ipad or similar for a few minutes during meal times will turn them into rude antisocial adults. One could argue that being taught how to use an ipad appropriately when out will help to avoid breeding antisocial adults.

Small children are shit at conversation and their table manners are lacking so anything that helps mitigate that has got to be good.

LadyRabbit Tue 03-Sep-13 11:21:28

So basically if one dares go out for a meal with a young child you will be judged if they are lively and boisterous and need to be constantly occupied or will roam a restaurant and introduce themselves to other diners (mine does this).
Or, if in an effort to allow others to have an uninterrupted meal you let them use an iPad to watch an episode of Peppa Pig and everyone dines in peace.
Can't win on MN it seems - you're going to be judges regardless.

LadyRabbit Tue 03-Sep-13 11:22:01

*judged, not judges!

ToysRLuv Tue 03-Sep-13 11:24:03

Yes, Lady. You are just not trying hard enough, and have simply failed in your job as a parent already.

forthill Tue 03-Sep-13 11:24:36

Maybe I'm unusual but when I'm in a restaurant I like to concentrate on the people I'm with, instead of judging others.
I make a special exception for restaurant guests who inflict screaming toddlers on other diners. I judge them to be selfish.

BoozyBear Tue 03-Sep-13 11:27:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MrsOakenshield Tue 03-Sep-13 11:32:50

forthill - your situation is of course completely understandable, but I have to say I doubt it is the case with the swathes of teenagers I have seen on the tube this summer, travelling together but all glued to their individual screens. It comes across as everything happening on screen is more important than the people they are with. I have been in the pub with people who are not 'on call' or anything like that, but have to keep updating Twitter/FB/whatever when in fact you've made the effort to meet up with them and would actually like to have a chat, but appear to be playing second fiddle to a screen. I only ever have my piece-of-crap phone out if I am waiting to meet someone who might be runing late or not know where I am, or if we have a babysitter (though I tend to keep it in my pocket on vibrate).

It just seems (to old-fogey) me that you give a portable screen to someone of any age and it becomes the focus of their lives.

working9while5 Tue 03-Sep-13 11:34:49

I generally agree


the other day took ds1 for lunch after a cinema trip and shopping in town. Am 11 weeks pregnant and when I got in there I suddenly felt like puking all over the table. So to distract myself while he was colouring I had a wee browse and MN before food came.

Ds was quiet and I was uncommunicative and I swear the people next to us were hoiking up their judgy pants.. but they would probably not have preferred a spewing incident so be it!

Soditall Tue 03-Sep-13 11:38:32

I'm not judging anyone,unlike some wink I've said I personally don't like it and it wouldn't be something I'd do with my children and I kind of hope they don't with they're children when they're parents but if they do that will be they're choice.

And like I said before there is 7 of us and 3 of us are now disabled so I completely get people using them for children and adults that can't cope with having to sit still and can't be quiet because of a disability.

It's the fact that so many parents tie themselves up in knots trying to keep children that are'nt ill or disabled constantly occupied is if they're world will end if they don't that worrys me.

forthill Tue 03-Sep-13 11:41:23

Actually Mrs. Oak, my mobile is 9 years old, so I am not a tech-freak. But I think the world is so dependent on technology, and today's toddlers will be living in a world even more dominated by technology, so it's important that they are fluent in its use. I am an optimist, and i don't believe real friendship and human interaction will ever be superseded by computers.

My father is an IT consultant, and so I grew up with computers and computer games shock. I would say I was more exposed to computers than the average child at the time, and I am well-adjusted (at least I hope so!) - I have lots of real friends, and am happily married, so i think I know how to interact with real people.

Although I had lots of access to computers as a child, I am not on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. So a lifetime of computer exposure doesn't necessarily produce a technology-obsessed geek!

Ledkr Tue 03-Sep-13 11:45:14

I give my I phone to my toddler if she's playing up in a restaurant. I think people would far rather she watches mr tumble than have their meal ruined by her nonsense.

ToysRLuv Tue 03-Sep-13 12:03:24

I'm exactly the same forthill. We had video games and betamax on tap in the very early 80s. Also, computers and computer games. Still I have and old, shit builders' waterproof mobile phone that I don't use or take with me often enough (my dh despairs!). Have a kindle, though, but almost never take it out either.

Modern technology us wonderful in many ways, though. DH was reading a book about space to ds last night and it mentioned the "cosmic dragon", but didn't explain exactly what it was. It took dh precisely half a minute to find a detailed explanation for ds in a new scientist article on the internet on his iphone..

A couple of weeks ago we went for a family meal in a gastropub. After a short while with crayons, DS(2) wanted to "play drawing on your phone mummy". So for the seemingly interminable period between then and our food arriving, he played on a drawing app. He showed me what he was drawing occasionally, told me about the colours and shapes, and so forth.

Another family came in - another 2yo with two grandparents and their two friends from overseas. The grandmother could be heard arriving quite a long time before we saw her, and when she arrived she pointed out DS to her DGS and said "look, that little boy is colouring nicely" to get him to sit down and get involved in crayons.

Her patronising braying (inaccurately translating the menu for her guests, telling DGS off every ten seconds for going over the lines or using the wrong colour, ordering for everyone regardless of what they'd said they'd like) completely drowned out our conversation.

So I was amused when she looked over at us again and sniffed "oh well I thought the little boy was colouring". Because I know we were behaving better than she was, and it wasn't my 2yo who had a complete meltdown two minutes later.

baddriver Wed 04-Sep-13 08:33:06

It's actually the grown ups snapping selfies and boring everyone at the table with snaps on their phones that piss me off. Don't get me started on those photographing their meals. Really

forthill Wed 04-Sep-13 12:14:35

OK, I have a question.
If iPads and iPhones are heinous, does that also apply to digital cameras?

And if it's the case that it's bad to let a toddler scroll through photos on a digital phone, is it also bad to let them leaf through a collection of printed photos?

If not, what's the difference?

forthill Wed 04-Sep-13 12:15:27

Sorry, I meant digital camera, not digital phone...

MrsOakenshield Wed 04-Sep-13 14:48:09

where has anyone said that 'iPads and iPhones are heinous'? I don't remember reading that.

SoupDragon Wed 04-Sep-13 15:01:17

It is the general feeling as people are fine with children being entertained via pencil and paper or handbags full of toys and Lego but anything electronic is bad.

NapaCab Wed 04-Sep-13 15:14:31

As the parent of a toddler you just can't win, can you? If you let your toddler run around the restaurant, make noise or shout or distract any judgy MN-er one, you're a bad parent. If you use an iPad to entertain the toddler, you're a lazy parent. So really you're only acceptable in society if your DC is quiet, passive and happy to sit engaged in simple, olde worlde crafty things for an hour at a time.

In an ideal world all children would be quiet while their parents help them make origami models of fruit and vegetables at the table. In the real world, toddlers have 5 minute attention spans and can be very loud and disruptive at times so as a parent, I'll do whatever it takes!

For older children who can actually have a conversation with their parents and pay attention for longer than 2 minutes, then you might have a point OP.

ToysRLuv Wed 04-Sep-13 15:18:05

grin @Napa

forthill Wed 04-Sep-13 15:20:51

Mrs Oakenshield - I will rephrase my question without using the word heinous.

If it is frowned upon to distract toddlers with iPads and iPhones in restaurants, does that also apply to digital cameras?

And if it's the case that it's bad to let toddlers scroll through photos on a digital camera, is it also bad to let them leaf through a collection of printed photos?

If not, what's the difference?

forthill Wed 04-Sep-13 15:22:46

P.S. I would be interested to receive a reply to the question above.

Nobody responded to my previous question about whether as a parent you would opt to inflict a toddler meltdown on fellow diners in a restaurant in favour of distracting the child with an iPad.

Crowler Wed 04-Sep-13 15:25:02

forthill it seems that you're suggesting that ipad=iphone=digital camera=book so ipad=book. I'm not sure I agree with that.

I'm not opposed to getting some peace from a toddler in a restaurant by way of an ipad, by the way.

forthill Wed 04-Sep-13 15:32:37

We're on the same page then!

I wasn't thinking of books; just equating photos on a digital camera with a loose collection of printed photos.

MrsOakenshield Wed 04-Sep-13 22:01:13

to be honest forthill, I can't answer your question as neither DH nor I have an iPhone/iPad/any other portable device of this kind - so if DD was going to have a meltdown we would have to deal with it without recourse to any of these (I would take her outside to calm down, and if she didn't we would leave. Hasn't happened yet, touch wood). Digital camera - not sure about this, as I don't tend to carry this about with me either, but in theory - I should think it's OK, it's not the same, though, to me at any rate.

I'm not against people using these things, btw, I am simply commenting that I know of adults who can't seem to function without being on them almost constantly, which I think is rude, and I do know of one mum whose toddler son does seem to be glued to her iPhone quite a lot, which personally I don't like (not that it's my business, of course).

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