Sunday Brunch. It is the perfect time for family and friends to come together for that epic #sundayfunday moment. Although these days, that looks less like bottomless mimosas and a lot more like somewhere toddler friendly that serves pancakes as big as your head (and preferably a non-judgmental zone that can handle the feral toddler take over). It isn’t controversial to argue that there are a number of benefits of eating dinner with your children. It leads to happier and healthier habits for children and their families. But what about brunch? It is after all intertwined with the most important meal of the day, in addition to being the time of the day where both adults and children have the most patience and energy. So shouldn’t we take advantage of this pivotal point of the day to make the most out of meal time? Dining out with toddlers is not always easy, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it. So here are some of the many reasons why I will always brunch with my children.
In my family, time with those you love over good food is the best way to bond. It is one of my favorite family traditions and I’ve come to realize the best quality time is enjoyed over good food (it doesn’t hurt that we have a chef in the family!). Sitting around at a table with good food is ideal for family bonding. That is how both my family and extended family spend our time together. And I want to instill that same sentiment to my children, starting with the most important meal of the day. So whether the meal is prepared at home or at one of our favorite family restaurants, brunch is a wonderful time to talk, eat, and simply enjoy each other.
2. Civilize The Little Ones
Sunday brunch is the perfect time to civilize the (feral) little ones. At home, we get lax, but out in public, we try to raise the bar and practice that “Sunday best” behavior. We start with the basics, greeting friends and family, saying please and thank you, don’t touch anyone else’s food, and do not talk with your mouth full. There is no expectation for the children to be perfect, but eventually they will model the behavior they see and be intimately familiar with using polite etiquette when dining out.
3. Less Screen Time
We’ve read the research. We’ve seen the harmful results of screen time on children’s development. It’s not just the children either, it is adults too. We all are spending too much time in front of screens. Making a concerted effort to spend time with people – instead of screens – is important for our children just as much as it is for us. In fact too much screen time is linked to “poorer connectivity” to the areas of the brain associated with language and cognitive skills and as well as being linked to mental health issues. One way to combat the harmful effects of screen time is to spend more time together – interacting.
4. Dress To Express
You can’t always judge a book by its cover, but sometimes you can. Teaching children to present themselves to the world in a smart way is a way to teach children to be confident in how they present and express themselves to the world. Dressing up is a skill that must be practiced to be maintained. And this is not just for the benefit of our children, it is good for us mom’s too. Lose the leggings for a day, shower, and put on mascara — move on over Miss America – confident mama coming through (with toddlers in tow).
5. Invest In Our Children
An investment in our children is an investment in our future. But as many positive benefits there are to brunching out with young children, it is not “easy.” Buzzing around the house to get everyone ready, urging your child to use their inside voice, coupled with a few charmed stares from strangers when your child does something typically childlike. By the time you sit down to eat – you are exhausted. Yet, it remains that Sunday brunch is the setting for us to invest in our children. So while it may seem “inconvenient” to dine out with a child or be near a table with young children, remember these children are the future. The time we put in with our children will yield benefits later on. A generation that knows how to interact with their peers and is adequately socialized is better equipped to succeed personally, socially, and professionally in the future.
For the best brunch experience, be sure to time it right, avoid restaurants that are crowded or have a long wait (after all toddlers only have a limited attention span). Don’t be afraid to pack a goody bag with some of your little one’s favorite activities to keep them busy while they wait for their food. With practice, they will catch on. They will eventually learn to use table manners, interact, and use their napkin properly – making it an enjoyable experience for all.
Looking to dine out beyond brunch? Check out our Favorite Family Restaurants In Daytona Beach.