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?