Where did my food come from and which fork do I use?
Ready, Set…Time to say Please and Thank you again.
September is Family Meals Month. With the start of school and sports activities, an evening family meal may be the last thing on your mind.
“When one is more fortunate, it is always better to build a longer table than a higher fence.” – Unknown.
September is a perfect time to bring the family together at your table.
While it may be difficult to carve out a time when everyone can sit down at the table together, make it a priority to have it happen. Pre-assemble your meals or use a slow cooker. Local supermarkets also have marvelous take out foods.
Carve out a time for family to gather at the table. Even one day a week helps.
Family meal time can promote healthy lifestyles, happier kids, better grades and overall more family harmony. It’s a time when members of the family can share about their day. This is a perfect time to teach children about where their food came from. It is also the time when parents can demonstrate table manners in a fun and supportive atmosphere.
Here are some hints of things to think about:
- Eggs do not originate from the refrigerated section of the supermarket. Meal time is a perfect time to discuss “which came first, the chicken or the egg”? [Actually, it is the chicken.] Discuss appreciation and honor of those who grow the food.
- Demonstrate use and placement of the dinner napkin—even if it is a paper napkin.
- Modeling is very important—a parent demonstrating manners at the table will often signal how their children’s manners will be at the table. Even when weary from work, put on your best table manners—for your kids’ sake.
- If you are weary (what parent is not), recognize it out loud. “Mommy’s had a rough day at work. I’m a little tired, but I’m so happy to be here with all of you.” Kids will know that parents have feelings, and sometimes those feelings are not pleasant. It’s okay. We are all vulnerable sometimes. Feelings are just feelings, after all.
- Take turns being the host. The host is the person who generally sits at the head of the table. The host leads the meal. Children can be taught how to lead the meal. Practice makes a happy and more confident child.
- Practice the three general rules of table etiquette: chew with your mouth closed; elbows off the table and don’t talk with your mouth full.
- Practice conversational skills during the meal. This includes listening and speaking. Go around the table and have each person talk about one event that happened to them that day.
- Signify the end of the meal by proper placement of the silverware on the plate.
- Have everyone assist in the cleanup of the table. Even carrying one’s plate to the sink is helpful. A fun idea: exempt the current “host” from cleanup. Be sure to take it from start to finish: load the dishwasher, wipe down the counters, etc.
- Have fun at your Family Meal Time! Please and Thank you.