When I was at Alton Towers a few weeks ago, I had dinner in the beautifully themed ‘Secret Garden Restaurant’. It’s a great family restaurant – lots of subtle theming, beautiful painted woodland creatures painted on the ceilings, beautiful views out of the window. It’s lovely, I might even go so far to say, enchanting. I’ve been there countless times and there are new things I notice each time I go. It’s a great place to take the kids.

Sadly though, not many of the kids in there would notice – their heads were buried in iPads and Kindles.

When did it become acceptable to have an iPad at the dinner table?

It makes me sad that even a little family chat at meal times, especially on a little holiday, are snatched away from us now. I know kids are hard work, and waiting for food is a bit of a bore, but surely we’re better than that? In somewhere so stimulating like a restaurant, especially a THEMED restaurant, isn’t there enough around to entertain them?




Can we not find 15 minutes of conversation with the kids now? Do we hate our children so much we’re happy to let them be buried in Peppa Pig until the food arrives? Some of them didn’t even put the tablets away when the food arrived, they just became food eating, Nick Jnr consuming zombies.

Don’t get me wrong, I let my children play with their devices – usually on a long car journey – but hardly ever indoors. G has her phone, and thankfully she’s never really glued to that like her peers. I use my phone a lot too – but, can’t we all just have that time over dinner to switch stuff off and enjoy each other?

Before you say it, or think it – yes, I am aware there are children with additional needs that something like an iPad can be a godsend, I imagine a few of the kids I saw might have ‘needed’ them. This was pretty much every family around me, iPads, Kindles, and Phones, glowing away, tables silence aside from the feint tinny sounds from tiny speakers. It’s crap.

To coin a phrase from older generations – “It wasn’t like that in my day”.

I’m bloody glad it wasn’t. I loved going out for dinner with my family, I loved that we all sat around the table for Sunday lunch. I’ve got so many memories of my relatives, most no longer with us, because we were social at the dinner table. The TV was off, we just talked. It was great. I do try and instil the same with my two, they sit at the tables for dinner and lunch. It’s a good time for them as a fractured family to catch up with each other.

Mealtimes are a chance to come together, talk, enjoy each other – there’s so many screens in our life now.

Can we just get the iPads away from the table – please?

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