How to Prevent Your Toddler from Watching Mobile Videos During Meals

A majority of toddler moms complain about how they have difficulty in feeding their babies without distracting them with a video on their smartphones. Children are often very fussy eaters and persuading them to eat healthy food is not easy. Whether at home or in a restaurant, parents often resort to showing videos on their mobiles just to make the baby eat without a tantrum.

My baby does not eat without a mobile video playing on the side!

How does video-watching during meals affect a pre-schooler?

Just as in adults, distracted or hurried eating can cause a lot of physical and emotional damage in a toddler. Some of the harmful effects of watching mobile videos while eating are:

  1. Overeating – Video-watching is one of the biggest causes of toddler obesity. Studies have shown that we tend to overfeed the baby because the kid is engrossed in the video and does not indicate when the tummy is full.
  2. Gulping food – When your child is distracted by a smartphone video he just gulps the food. His mind does not savour the food and develop preferences.
  3. Slow metabolism – Seeing a video while eating lowers your baby’s metabolic rate. Consequently, the food is digested slowly and excess fat is burned slowly.
  4. Indigestion – Your toddler’s addiction to videos during meals every day may ultimately lead to frequent bouts of indigestion, colic pain, reflux, constipation/diarrhoea, etc.
  5. Allergies – Both you and the kid are distracted by the mobile video. So you are also not as alert as you should be in detecting allergic reactions to certain foods.
  6. Interaction – It is truly said that ‘a family that eats together stays together’! Meals are the best time for parent-child bonding. While watching a video, your pre-schooler does not interact with the rest of the family and misses out on precious quality time.
How to encourage your toddler to eat without a video

Distraction from a video makes it easier to feed your child. In due course, this becomes a habit and your kid may refuse to eat a meal without watching a video. Even if the habit has set in, you can wean your child from the habit. Initially, your little one may throw tantrums and make a huge fuss. But if you persist, then eventually the child will learn to eat without the distraction. These are a few tips on how to prevent toddler from watching videos during meals every day:

  • Keep everyone’s mobile devices away during meals
  • Take help from other members of the family to keep the child in conversation
  • Try to add creativity in the food, in order to make it look a little more attractive
  • Avoid texting or browsing on your phone during meals
  • If necessary, only play audio music (preferably nursery rhymes) instead of showing videos
  • Give more time to the toddler so that your child learns to value personal relationships more than objects.

As you have seen, there are many harmful side effects of a toddler not eating without mobile video clips. Video-watching during meals adversely affects the physical and emotional well-being of your toddler. Your child’s welfare is within your hands and not so difficult to manage.

Development Technology

Media Effects on Children’s Social and Moral Development

We live in an environment surrounded by television, mobile devices, and other digital gadgets. Since the time of our tiny one’s birth, they are exposed to the world of media. It not only impacts their beliefs, values, and behaviour but also shapes their social interactions. The psychological impact of media violence on toddlers is profound and can cause irreparable changes in behaviour.

A research study published by the US National Library of Medicine has shown that exposure to violence on television, video games, mobile videos, etc. increases the possibility of violent behaviour in children. The subjects of this study range between the age of 5 and 13 but this holds for toddlers and pre-schoolers too.

How does digital violence influence toddlers?

Young kids are impressionable and cannot differentiate between fiction and reality. The violence depicted in cartoon films or TV shows will give the impression that this is correct behaviour. Digital violence affects toddlers in some of the ways listed below:

  • Aggressive behaviour
  • Unprovoked anger
  • Frequent temper tantrums
  • Rebellion
  • Nightmares and/or phobias
  • Loss of appetite
  • Poor sleep patterns
  • Other psychological disorders.

How can you reduce digital violence at home?

The first step towards helping our kids grow in a less violent environment is to restrict the exposure to digital violence. Here’s how you can implement some simple but effective measures at home:

Be media literate

Educate yourself about the type of TV programs/videos that usually show violence. Kids often see games and mobile apps that show battle scenes in a combative environment. Restrict your child from playing such games or watching these types of videos.

Watch together

Sit with your little one during TV or video time. Watch the entertainment together so you know what is going on. Most stories have the basic theme that shows the triumph of good over evil. These stories usually have a villain whose behaviour is negative. Explain to your little toddler that such behaviour is bad and hence the villain loses in the end. Emphasise on other qualities depicted in the video like cooperation, multi-tasking, friendship, loyalty, kindness, etc.

Child-safe logins

If you are permitting your toddler to watch Netflix or Amazon Prime videos, make sure that you use the Kid’s login and not your usual one. This login will automatically permit the child to only watch toddler-safe movies and shows. This way, Parental guidance will not be required most of the time.

Change your viewing time

You may be very fond of action thrillers but it is not appropriate to watch them while your toddler is awake and in the same room. With a small child in the house, you will have to adjust your timings so that the child is not inadvertently exposed to digital violence by just being in the same room. Also, your baby will start enjoying violent content too, that is something you must avoid at any cost. You could binge-watch all you want when your child is asleep.

Most importantly, as a parent, believe that you have the right to restrict digital violence and its influence on your toddlers.