Mommy's Time Out Magazine December 2018 - Page 17

Making Meal Time Family Time

By Linda Tobiassen & Rebecca Gurski

It’s the season to gather around the table with family and friends.

The table is its own social setting, where people of all ages model and observe nutritional choices, ways of communicating, and more.

Communication

Sharing the day-to-day around the table can help kids develop their listening and problem-solving skills. It can help you remember what it feels like to be a kid, even though every generation is different. It’s a good place and time for people to feel recognized, heard, and cared for. Play a game called Rose, Thorn, and Bud. Ask “What was the rose (highlight) of your day?” “What was your thorn (what went wrong)?” “What was your bud (something new)?” It opens up conversation without asking, “How was your day?”.

Nutrition

If you've lived with a picky eater or been one yourself, you know it's a complicated issue. But leading by example can be a quiet and effective way to influence food choices.

If you’re able to prepare meals at home at least some of the time, you already know that they tend to be more nutritious than meals eaten out because you have more control over the ingredients. Letting your child help with age-appropriate meal prep is another way to introduce new foods without forcing the issue, as well as a way to bolster self-respect around newly learned skills. Plus, it creates an additional opportunity for communication.

Social Skills

Social skills by any other name might be “etiquette” or “manners.” It gives you the chance to model politeness, patience, the nuances of conversation, and — because these items are related — problem-solving skills. Kids and others will absorb the way you handle potential conflict, your ability to laugh at yourself, and the ways you listen to and encourage others.