I always had a casual relationship with dinner. Growing up, our meals were never considered sacred family time–we usually ate dinner sitting around the coffee table. And now that my husband and I run our own household, things are pretty much the same (coffee table and all). We often end up spending half the time on our phones, which, truth be told, I kind of hate.
I suspect that I'm not alone in feeling like our phones are taking over our lives. So for all of you who are also trying to use 2016 to get better at your tech tendencies, try one of these solutions:
Mandate the Phone Stack
Insist everyone stack their phones at the center of the table before you dig in to your meals, or collect them into a basket at the front door. Simple. Questionably effective. People might just laugh it off, or if they do play along, will grab their phone off the pile at the sign of the first chirp.
Shut Off Kids' Phones
If your dinner guests are your actual children, you can install an app on everyone's phones called DinnerTime Plus, which lets parents hit "pause" on kids' phone use during meal time.
Get a Few $2 IKEA SITTNING Place Mats
Peer pressure is no joke. Let guests know that there's a pocket for their phones sewn right into their place mat*. Make a big charade about tucking yours in for the night and they'll have no choice but to follow suit.
*IKEA insists the pockets in the place mats, part of a new line that debuted late last year, can be used for "flatware and a napkin," but these are the official photos from IKEA. So I think we can all guess what the designer's intention was here.