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Getting Family Members Involved at Mealtime

posted Sep 16, 2016, 10:35 AM by Sunamita Da Silva   [ updated Sep 16, 2016, 10:47 AM by Rachel Griffin ]

Family mealtime is a great way to spend more quality time with the family. To make it even more fun, get everyone involved beyond just sitting at the table! Here’s how:

…in the Kitchen

Assign tasks based on your child’s age. Children between 3-5 years old can use cookie cutters, a plastic knife to cut soft fruits and vegetables, a pastry brush to oil bread, etc. Older children can start helping with more difficult tasks like cracking eggs, rinsing vegetables, and even boiling pasta. As a parent, you are the best person to assess your child’s abilities and assign them tasks you feel they can execute safely. For more ideas of how your child can help you in the kitchen, visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ website here.

…during Meal Time

Kids today are so technologically savvy that it can be difficult to get them to give the gadgets a time out. But it’s important to communicate, and family meal time is a great opportunity to do just that. According to the New York State Department of Health, when adults eat with children they can serve as role models not just for communication, but also for their food choices, and to keep their children safe from hazards such as cross-contamination and choking. To encourage preschoolers to talk for example, you can ask questions about past events and probe them for more details. You can find other techniques you can use to engage your children in conversation here.

If for any reason you ever find yourself running low on conversation, create your own or print out some fun mealtime conversation cards that can help you keep the young ones talking and away from those gadgets for just a tad bit longer. Games like “Telephone” and “Guess Who” are also great ways to break the routine and are sure to keep your family looking forward to your next meal together.

 

For more information on the getting family members involved visit:

Parent Tips: Getting Kids in the Kitchen. Available at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/wecan/downloads/cookwithchildren.pdf

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