The Value of Family Style Dining

December 20, 2012

Family Style Dining with Children

Family style dining in a child care setting enriches curriculum as no other activity can. Pouring, passing, serving, and sharing food not only promote language and fine motor development, but also enhance a child’s self-concept by providing opportunities to make decisions and to take responsibility.

Positive social interaction with peers and adults develops naturally around mealtime when children are encouraged to fully participate in the process. There’s nothing more exciting for children than to be able to say “I did it all by myself!”

Something as simple as pouring a glass of milk can be deeply satisfying for young children. A warm, easy, give-and-take conversation style should be initiated by caregivers following children’s leads. Interaction should be equal and involve a lot of descriptive statements. This type of relaxed dialogue goes a long way toward allowing self-help and social skills to grow.

However, the right equipment is really important! Young diners should have appropriately sized tables and chairs so that children can sit comfortably with their feet on the floor, yet have room to move freely. It is also important that children eating together be at the same eye level with each other. Small groups of 5-7 are conducive to conversation and interaction.

 

Download our FREE STAFF TRAINING AID for Family Style Dining

 

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