I spend a lot of time with children under the age of 5. Meals and snacks are my favorite time to really connect with their little thoughts. In my setting, we gather together at a table in the main play room and have some of the most interesting conversations. I’m sure you can imagine. But just in case you can’t, I’d like to share one of them with you. This is a little taste of “Life Along the Katy Trail.”
Desmond – Look Steph! I can wink!
Me — You should show Weston
Desmond – Can you wink Weston?
(Weston shakes his head)
Me – I will wink at you Desmond
Weston – Look Steph!! (Weston blinks both eyes )
Desmond – Is this table a little big
Me – Yes it’s a little big
Desmond – I won’t crawl on the table if I was you!
Desmond – If there was a stranger in my house and Mom wasn’t there and Dad wasn’t there and Dexter wasn’t there, I would tell him “I wouldn’t crawl on that table if I were you!!”…. But he’s a friendly stranger.
Me — I’m not sure if you’d have a friendly stranger in your house crawling on your table.
Desmond – But a friendly one would, Huh??!!
10 seconds later after inhaling a bite of bagel.
Desmond – I lost my extra pants
Me – How’d you do that?
Desmond – My Mommy took them off
(me looking away )
Ben joins in (age 23 months) – A Puppy!!!
Ben smiles and the world is all better
More conversations later. Until then, you must know some reasons why we need to eat meals as a family. (of course I can’t leave this post without getting on a soap box for the children)
• According to researchers at Syracuse University, family routines such as eating dinner together nightly are associated with happier marriages, improved children’s health, and stronger family ties.
• Family meals are the perfect time to teach kids good manners and to model appropriate table etiquette. Sharing pleasant conversation around the dinner table can also help improve a child’s social skills.
• Dining together makes for healthier eaters. Kids who regularly eat with their families tend to have healthier eating patterns. They consume more fruits and vegetables and fewer fried foods, sodas, and saturated fat than kids who don’t share family meals, says the American Dietetic Association.
Eat more meals together and listen to your childrens’ wonderful growing minds. You won’t regret it.