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Teaching Kids Healthy Habits Teaching Kids Healthy Habits

Who had the whole family at the dinner table last night? How'd that go for you? How many spills? How many "Mom, I'm full!" from the chorus of little mouths?

Dinner table basics are an essential healthy habit to learn...and I'm not just talking manners. I'm talking all of it -- how to command use of that fork and how to hold a cup level without spilling it. Basic basics, my friends, as well as good manners and healthy eating habits. For this Friday Fit Club, think about these ideas as you sit down to meals.

-- Encourage them to try new instruments. A larger fork or spoon. A regular cup without a lid...or a glass cup as the yare older. They need to practice on how it feels to grip these, to lift these, to carry it from the table to their mouths, balance, all of it. Give them opportunity to do this at home...and when you are at a restaurant, and they only have big forks and glasses, they will be prepared.

-- Encourage them to eat to they are full. Instead of measuring how much they ate from what is or isn't on the plate, have them tune into their bodies and how they feel. The other kicker to this one is we often give our kids too much food on their plate -- just like we do with our own servings, we are off by a lot on how much we really eat. One serving of pasta is only about the size of a tennis ball. One serving of cereal is the size of your fist. A serving of chicken is a deck of cards.

-- Be sure you remember your own manners. Saying thank you and please to your husband and your children. You are their best model for behavior. When they see you trying new foods and wash your hands before eating and all of it, the more likely they will too. That goes for eating not at the table. If you want them to only eat in certain places, be sure you aren't walking around with a snack in your hand.

-- Practice with toys, read books, talk about manners when they aren't at the table too. Bringing up these skills when they aren't in hungry and trying to remember 18 things at the same time can make it that much easier when they are at the table.

My kiddo is getting better at the big girl cup and I've introduced regular dishes. What skill are you tackling at the table?

ŠiStockphoto.com/ leaf



by on May. 25, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Replies (11-20):
Kmakksmom
by on May. 25, 2012 at 6:33 PM

Right now we are still working with Kaden and spoons and forks.  My girls are getting better at using butter knives.

abra
by on May. 25, 2012 at 7:58 PM
not talking with your mouth full! :)
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Charizma77
by Member on May. 25, 2012 at 10:52 PM
Serving themselves, pouring drinks, manners...
bethany169
by Bethany on May. 25, 2012 at 11:10 PM
DH is big on table manners so DS not only has a good example but we work with him a lot on trying new foods, being polite, etc. He's been drinking out of a regular cup for a while (plastic though, I'm just not ready to give my not quite 4 year old glass LOL), uses silverware and a napkin well, etc. We all need to eat more vegetables but he'll usually try most things, especially if I feed him the first bite. His favorite food is sushi so he's definitely not picky LOL He does eat like a toddler though--some days, he wants third helpings of everything, some days, he takes two bites and he's full. We don't force it either way.

DD is a good eater too--we did baby led solids with her and at 14 months, she eats pretty much whatever we do. The more colorful, the better--she'll pick all the broccoli off her tray and eat it first LOL We give her utensils but she pretty much just plays with them.
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countrygirlkat
by on May. 26, 2012 at 12:46 AM

My 6 year old has been doing wonderfully lately at trying new foods.  He is eager to try new things and has discovered he likes a lot of things he didn't think he would!

My 5 year old has been working on recognizing the need to eat when we do as a family and not mess around tat thaou point and then ask for food 30 minutes later. 

My 14 month old is getting really good with a spoon.  He still spills half of it down his shirt but it is so cute to watch and he is so proud of himself!

nngmommy83
by on May. 26, 2012 at 12:56 AM
We're working on proper use of utensils with DS, he's 3
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nngmommy83
by on May. 26, 2012 at 12:56 AM
This is another one!


Quoting abra:

not talking with your mouth full! :)

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suziejax
by on May. 26, 2012 at 1:45 AM

still teaching my kids not to put elbows on table 

ceciliam
by on May. 26, 2012 at 7:51 PM

None at the moment. We are past the part of teachimg proper table manners.

timon95
by Betty on May. 27, 2012 at 12:37 AM

manners

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