Tiffani Thiessen doesn’t allow electronics at the dinner table: ‘not even phones’

Yahoo! started a new parenting series called So Mini Ways . Their latest guest was Tiffani Thiessan. Tiffani is still acting but focuses more on her food and lifestyle brand these days. She also landed a hostess bit on MTV’s Deliciousness, which sounds like the perfect hybrid of her two worlds. Tiffani and husband Brady Smith have two kids, Harper, 11, and Holt, six. Tiffani and Yahoo! are partnering with Nutri-Grain on their Getaway from Negotiation sweepstakes, so most of the questions are about bribing kids to eat right. But I actually found Tiffani’s other answers interesting, like the fact that she’s seen as strict because she doesn’t allow her kids to bring electronics to the dinner table.

Her kids would call her strict: My kids will probably say that we’re strict. We’re strict about electronics; they only get a certain amount of time. In the summer, they get it a little bit longer, but it’s not a lot compared to probably a lot of people. We’re “outside” people. We love getting the kids outside and I think it’s important.

We’re definitely strict about just sitting down as a family and eating. That’s really important, especially when it’s the school year. We’re much more strict about every night sitting home and having dinner together as a family, no electronics, not even our phones. We’re a little looser in the summer, because we’re running around a little bit more depending on work schedules and stuff, and the kids have camp. They’ll have a popsicle when they get home because it’s summer. So I feel like we give a little bit. I think we’re, hopefully, a good balance of strict and fun.

Traveling by RV: My husband and I used to do RV trips a lot before we had children. We always said once we had children, we can’t stop doing these, because it’s really a different and fun way to travel with somebody. We were going to do it last year, but the pandemic hit and so we said that we were going to do it this year. We rented an RV and we traveled for 11 days in the RV. It was hard, but even more than hard, it was so much fun. The kids loved it. We went from the Grand Canyon to Colorado, back to Utah and went into the Zion [National Park]. It was such a high. We said we’re going to try to do an RV trip every year, so we’re already planning next year.

Tips for working moms: Breathe. Definitely a lot of [breathing], a lot of patience, for sure. Being a parent, that’s probably number one, patience. Making sure you have a good support system, wherever you can find that, whether it’s friends, family, husband, wife, whatever. I think that’s truly important, too: It takes a village. It really is not just about one person. It really takes a dance of a lot of people to raise children, hopefully in a good manner [laughs].

[From Yahoo!]

My husband and I said the exact same thing about RV trips, although we’ve never actually done it. We always fantasize about taking Route 66 or Lincoln Highway. One day, I swear. I like Tiffani’s advice to working moms because its realistic. Not that we all remember to follow it, but it isn’t telling us to go out and get expensive spa treatments and take mini self-vacations with time we don’t have. Believe it or not, I need the occasional reminder to breathe.

I was a little surprised by the electronics response, though. Not that Tiffani bans them, but that she felt that was being strict. If someone is eating alone, I understand having a book, phone or device out. But I guess I see the point of coming together for a meal as a chance to hang out. My husband is a notorious food photo taker. We’ve restricted him to one shot before we start eating and then he has to use his phone for our dinner music (using his phone ensures he can’t take any more pics). But we aren’t too strict on electronics time limits when not at the table so maybe the kids are sick of them by then. It’s funny, though, I think every family has a summer vs. school year schedule. My summer starts when I don’t have to make breakfast or pack any lunches!

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Photo credit: Instagram

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19 Responses to “Tiffani Thiessen doesn’t allow electronics at the dinner table: ‘not even phones’”

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  1. Merricat says:

    We also have a no-phones-at-the-table rule. Is that strict? My parents had a no-phone-calls-during-dinner rule, and it makes sense to me.

    • Becks1 says:

      Yeah, it just seems reasonable and normal to me, but maybe that’s unusual nowadays?

    • Liz says:

      Same. I call it the “no toys at the table” rule. We have a turntable, so someone usually picks a record to play during dinner. Devices can only be pulled out with everyone’s permission to quickly look up a fact related to the conversation and then they must be put away.

      With a high schooler playing travel sports and a spouse who travelled for work, family dinners were hard to achieve pre-pandemic. We were lucky if we had a family dinner twice a week. The 15 months of family dinner every single night was weird. But it helped us get through.

  2. Renee says:

    I have always liked Tiffani. I liked her Food Network show years ago too. I agree with her no phones at dinner rule. We all need a break from electronics.

  3. tealily says:

    I think that’s a good policy. I do that when I’m having dinner at a restaurant or a family member’s house, but I’m guilty of occasionally checking it when at home. I should start putting it away in the other room in the evening. Do other people do that?

  4. lucy2 says:

    I do use mine occasionally, mostly if we’re discussing something I need to look up, but generally that’s not an uncommon rule nor do I think it’s very strict.

  5. JEM says:

    She definitely doesn’t sound strict, but they must know so many other families that do allow phones at the table so it seems strict to her.

  6. MaryContrary says:

    We were out to dinner recently with another family- 4 parents, a 23 year old, and 4 teens. An older lady stopped by our table to say how refreshing it was to see a big group with kids not have a phone in sight and all be talking and laughing together. It’s crazy how rare this is. That said-my 17 year old will occasionally have his out at dinner “to check scores of important games.”

  7. (TheOG) Jan90067 says:

    We’ve always had that rule growing up: no phone calls allowed during meal time (but we *did* pause to hear who was leaving a message on the machine in the other room lol).

    When my nephews were younger and got phones, we instituted the no phone rule during dinners the whole family was at together (my sis and BIL were more lax when alone w/the kids). Now, that rule is gone with the wind lol. We *all* use it to check with Siri or google something we’re discussing 😊. Gotta find what works for you and your family’s balance.

  8. Terri J Neff says:

    When my kids were much younger my son complained about being forced to sit thru dinner w the family when he wanted to get back to his game. His younger sister (around 4) said “it’s a familybration”, and that definitely stuck.

  9. Esmom says:

    My kids, now in college, are fine with no phones at the table. But we rarely eat as a family together when they are home, everyone is on different schedules. I miss the days when we all ate together and had fun family vacations like they seem to have. And when I would get more than eye rolls and one word answers, sigh. Such great memories to treasure.

  10. Ok, let's go says:

    I really enjoyed her cooking show, Dinner at Tiffany’s. Matthew Lillard was on there a lot and had a hilarious dynamic with Tiffany’s husband.

    Tiffany is still a total babe.

  11. Kate says:

    I always imagined doing family dinners with no electronics but my kids won’t sit still and eat their food whenever we try. We got into the habit of letting them watch ipads when they eat when they were wiggly toddlers just to get them to sit and actually eat longer and now it’s their habit. Maybe when they’re a little older we’ll try again.

  12. DuchessL says:

    No electronics at the table should be the norm – I dont allow it and dont feel it’s extra. We can take a few pics before we start, but if you’re not alone at the table – it’s a no. However, exceptions can be made for example when we make a buffet for the super bowl. Or something like election night.

  13. Sigmund says:

    I admit I don’t have kids, but I don’t find a no-phones rule at dinner to be strict. It feels like common decency. When your eating dinner you’re there to eat and socialize.

  14. paranormalgirl says:

    We did RV trips when the spawn were around, every summer and during spring break. We just downsized our airstream to a 25 foot from our 30ft bunk since the kids probably wont be traveling with us that often,.

  15. Yonati says:

    Wow! What a parenting expert! Screen limits!