I’m not one to give advice but…

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

The couple sat nearby with their two and four-year-olds. I was surprised to see the parents setting up two iPads for each of their little girls to watch (during breakfast) and, as the meal progressed, I noticed that both parents cheered every time either one of their daughters put something in her mouth.

Arrgh! Fast forward 10 years and we wonder why many teenagers don’t speak to their parents and have an odd relationship with food.

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

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

Take a moment to dream with your young ones, to share a story, and to listen to them. The rest of us in the restaurant will look on in awe. [Side note – what on earth is the current TV ad from Telstra about a woman on the bus using a tablet to pacify her baby all about?]

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

Naomi Simson is considered to be one of Australia’s Best Bosses. An employee engagement advocate, she practises what she preaches in her own fast growth business. RedBalloon was named as one of only 13 BRW Best Employers in Australia in 2012 for four years in a row with an engagement scorecard of over 90% in each of those years – the average in Australian businesses is 54%.

One of Australia’s outstanding entrepreneurs, Naomi regularly entertains as a passionate speaker, a blogger and a published author, most recently publishing Five Thanks a Day. She has received many accolades and awards for the business she founded, RedBalloon.com.au including the 2011 Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur of the Year – Industry.



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