Peas of Mind in San Francisco, California asked me to write a blog for them and I gladly accepted. Thanks Jill!
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Here is the blog I wrote:
Take A Seat
We recently checked in with one of our biggest supporters, Melanie R. Silverman, a Registered Dietitian who specializes in pediatric nutritional care. We asked her what was on her mind these days. Her answer: “meal time” and here is what she had to say about it:
Meal time behavior and manners is probably something you hope your child develops, but let’s be face it, on the big list of what you want for your child, health, happiness and a college education certainly beat good manners at the table. What if we considered moving the importance of meal time behavior and manners up the list because I am beginning to believe that the health, happiness and college education you want for your child starts at the kitchen table. Here is how it works…
1) Watch your snacks. If dinner is at 6:30pm and you gave a few handfuls of cheesy crispy kiddie crackers at 5:00pm to “hold them off”, you are in for it; they are not going to eat and those cheesy crispy kiddie crackers just displaced your dinner. Spread out your meals and snacks by at least two to three hours so the kids come to the table hungry and do a decent job eating the nutritious food you prepared.
2) Sit together. Make sure that everyone in the family is seated together at the table. While kid tables are adorable, don’t separate the kids from the adults during meal time. Gather around the table as a family. Eat. Talk. Laugh. Meal time should be fun.
3) Correct behavior. Kids learn by observation. How will they learn to use a fork, drink from an open cup, cut their food or place a napkin in their laps if you do not show them? Meal time also gives you an opportunity to spend time with your kids which teaches them how to talk, listen and communicate effectively.
So how do these three tips get your child healthy, happy and into
college? If your child is coming to the table hungry because you spread the snacking out, the probability goes way up that he or she will actually eat the nutritious food you took time to prepare. Your child is now healthy! Research has shown time and time again how valuable the family meal is for children because shared meals can provide a sense of community, love, and support. Your child is now happy! Colleges are looking for people with high cognitive abilities that can also relate well to people. Eating as a family at the table gives your child exposure to both aspects of development. Your child is going to college!
Pull up a chair to the kitchen table and have your child take a seat. The meals you provide are so much more than just calories.
photo credit: kitchen table from www.thekitchn.com
Melanie R. Silverman MS, RD, IBCLC is pediatric registered dietitian and lactation consultant in Laguna Beach, California. You can learn more about her private practice atwww.feedingphilosophies.com and what her feeding philosophies are at blog.feedingphilosophies.com