From Stacey Seybold Hiller, M.S.,CCC-SLP, Pediatric Speech Language Pathologist and Owner, Dream Dinners of Indianapolis, IN.
Sometimes, once our children learn to eat independently with silverware, chew (mostly) with their mouth closed, and not pass rolls by throwing them, we tend to think that our job around the table is completed. But really, it is has just begun. As our children get older, they are exposed to a variety of eating situations. Occasions such as going out to a nice meal with a friend to celebrate a birthday, a wedding reception, a confirmation, bar mitzvah, or Thanksgiving at Great Aunt Karen’s all present unique challenges. Our job is to help them learn how to deal with these more “adult” eating situations. For example, what if you are served something you want to spit out? How do you politely refuse Mrs. Smith’s overcooked steak? When do you use that second fork? Where do you put your napkin when the meal is over?
The best way to help our kids get ready for the “real” world of business and social luncheons is to practice in the safety of their own homes. Try to make one or two meals a month more formal at home. Eat in the dining room, use the china and real silver. Not only will it allow you to practice and role play some of these situations, but it also makes family meal time feel even more special. Besides, who is more worthy of your fine china? The friends/family you only see once a year, or the people you love most in the world?
Stacey Seybold Hiller has practiced pediatric speech pathology for more than 18 years. Both she and her husband felt they were ready for a career change, so they opened Dream Dinners in Indianapolis with a partner. Now she can further her passion for healthy family meals around the table at home!