This may hit some nerves, but that's kind of the point. I think we all can admit that there are times that we've stuck a screen in front of our kids to keep them occupied so we don't lose our minds.  However, giving them a screen to stare at while you go out to eat has got to stop..

Read the update below, but obviously there are some exceptions.  I understand the need sometimes when exhausted parents go out and they may have a child that suffers from a disability.  I get that.  Or kids that are really really little.

The cases I'm talking about is usually when kids of school age and older (5 and up let's say?) are shoved off on their tablets.

My wife and I see it all the time.  We treat going out to dinner as exactly that: a treat.  It costs a lot more money to eat out than cooking at home for a family of four.  That's a no brainer, right?  So we make it a fun family event where we actually connect MORE than we do at home.

Just about every time we go out to eat, we look over and see another family with their children with their faces buried in a tablet.  Or a smartphone.  I often can't help but notice that the parents order for their kids, and those kids never take their eyes off of the screen.

Sadly, the parents are often on their phones too.

This is raising a generation of socially awkward, zombie children that can't even correctly order something off the menu with out some sort of anxiety.  You can already see the results of this with older teenagers.  How often have you looked over at a booth and there are four teens sitting their texting each other?

Use this time to talk to each other.  Use this situation of eating out at a restaurant as a way for kids to learn social interaction with strangers.  As soon as your kid can start forming coherent sentences, have them order.  Teach them to say please when they order something off the menu.  When the server comes with their order or their drink, have them say thank you. It doesn't seem like a big deal, but it really is.

Talk about your day.  Talk about what plans you have for the weekend.  Get off of your damn phone.

Sure, there are restaurants where they have children's menus with activities on it.  I grew up with that.  But you know what?  I didn't get lost in a word search or a maze for the duration of the entire evening out.  Plus I remember playing tic tac toe with my parents on those mats.  It's really not a comparison at all.  Sorry.

Like I said before.  We're all guilty of letting our kids watch some screens because it's easier sometimes.  Just don't let it get in the way of a learning experience or spending time as a family.  They grow up fast, remember?

Update:

It's been called to my attention a couple of differing views and opinions. This has started a conversation and there are a few things to consider.

-Some families have hidden disabilities that you don't see, and a distraction like this may be better for everyone for kids suffering from Autism, anxiety, etc.

-Some families use eating out as a break and if they need to put their kids on their phone, than so be it.