Thursday, March 27, 2008

Family style eating

As a family, we try to sit down and eat at least one meal a day together.  This is usually dinner in our household.  Although we stay busy with church, a 2.5 year old, work, and keeping up the house, we feel that this time together is important and we've made it a priority in our schedule. These are just a few of the many benefits of family style eating:

1. It teaches colors, shapes, numbers, language-- by creating the time to actually talk with our kids, we can teach them these and so many things.  Sitting down together at a meal opens up conversation and also teaches manners such as please and thank you.  Ask open-ended questions about taste, texture, smell, color, ingredients, etc.  

2. Sharing-- Kids learn about sharing items and taking turns.  

3. Motor skills-- Family style eating promotes development of motor skills in passing dishes and serving oneself.

4. Slows down eating--Slower eating allows you and your child to more readily recognize when you're full and prevent overeating.  This also models healthy eating habits for lifelong benefits.

5. Socialization-- Learning to take turns in conversations, using polite manners and not interrupting each other... there are all socialization skills that can be learned at the dinner table in a family style setting.

6. Personal hygiene-- Time to sit down together also encourages time spent together washing hands before a meal and brushing teeth afterwards.  This is a great time for you to model some of these behaviors for your child.

7. Personal responsibility-- Setting the table, washing hands, cleaning up the dishes... these are also skills that promote personal responsibility in your child.  Through these tasks they learn that they are part of the family unit and not there to simply be served.

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