Thursday, May 9, 2013

Family Style Lunch

If you are a mommy of kiddos at home then I think we are always looking for fun ways to change stuff up & keep it interesting. Well, I think having family style lunches is a great way to do just that.

First, let me start with the benefits, at this age children love opportunities to assert their independence & giving them the opportunity to serve themselves is an awesome place to start. Sometimes we opt for convenience & less mess, but helping kids learn they are capable is an invaluable lesson! Get them involved with meal preparations, have them help set the table, have all your children eat at the same time (big or small), & help teach them how to hold conversations & use their manners.F

Family style meals are also nice because they help cater to the different appetites. At these younger ages, childrens' appetites are constantly changing. All of my children are pretty good eaters, but every week it changes which kid can consume like 3 bowls of oatmeal in 1 sitting & then another barely finishing just 1 bowl. With "family style" a child can learn to gauge their own appetite & select their portions accordingly. Now, I definitely want to note here that some rules should be discussed before starting a family meal. In addition to giving your kids a short rundown on how to serve each item, etiquette, & so forth it is also important to note to your child that just because they are selecting their own portions does not mean they can use this opportunity to be picky eaters & opt out of their not so favorite foods. You can set portion minimums (ex: at least 3 carrot sticks) if needed. You are still giving your kids independence, but not allowing them to get too crazy, lol.

Before I even had children, I was first introduced to this concept when I worked at a before & after school program. I absolutely loved the idea & definitely saw the benefits first hand. As teachers, we sat with the children & modeled the same behavior we expected from them. The kids even took part in clearing the table & washing it down which I STRONGLY agree with. It creates a sense of community that is invaluable.

Having dinners as a family is important, but having lunch together is important too. Not only should we try to have all our children eat at the same time, in the same place, but as parents we should also try to use this time sit down & enjoy with them. It can be tempting to use lunchtime as a moment to catch up on household chores, but its more meaningful if we use it as a chance to engage with our kids as a family. Try to create meals with your children that encourage them to be a part & allow them to serve themselves. Maybe even take the opportunity, after you have enjoyed some conversation, to read a book before cleaning up as a family as well.

Happy Eating :)

-M&M Momma

Girls goofing around with their
scarves, lol

Why Family Style?

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