The simple act of eating together at the table is the perfect opportunity to talk, bond and learn from one another. Not only does it enrich the feeling of belonging, it is here that children learn etiquette, table manners and the essential skill of how to properly use their knife, fork and spoon.
Every night we sit at the dinner table as a family. I use the term ‘sit’ loosely because after a full day at preschool my two year old has little patience for sitting still. As she inches closer to three, I’m using similar techniques to make dinnertime a place to sit, talk, and relax and one great way of doing that is learning about the need of eating together coupled with proper table manner etiquette. To help parents and carers maximize their children’s mealtime experience, the Victoria Chart Company has created a double sided dry erase ‘Let’s Eat Together’ placemat (11 x 18 inches and includes a pen) for age 3+ that is a fun, interactive tool that children can complete after a meal. One side of the met includes a check off system encouraging children to learn their table manners and side two provides fun activities to play at the table after a meal. We love this product to use with Brie and on top of the learning, the mat itself is durable, reusable and easy to clean with a damp cloth.
Side one: some of the ‘table manners’ include:
- I helped set the table
- I have washed my hands before eating
- I didn’t talk with food in my mouth
- No playing gadgets at the table
- I helped clear the table
Side two: some of the ‘activities’ include:
- What’s your best loved? (choose a theme such as animals, letters, food and then discuss why)
- What makes you feel? (happy, excited, proud, worried or tired and then discuss why)
- Animal alphabet fun (see if you can complete the alphabet naming an animal for each letter)
- What’s the opposite of? (think of some fun, simple words suitable to your child’s age)
- Just doodle
We all have busy lives, and I want dinnertime to be a fun and relaxing experience for all. We ask questions, talk about our day, and Brie is starting to understand that mealtime is family time and not a punishment for being at preschool all day long (plus a long commute). We understand the importance of her getting her wiggles out before dinner and we started making food and get them rounded up for our feast. It makes me proud to watch my girls eat with their utensils, learn about manners, and get excited to make sure they are learning the art of table conversation. We only have one rule in the house that pertains to table manners. Once you ‘graduate’ to a table manner expert, you will then be allowed to eat dinner at a friend’s house. Brooke is almost ready!
List Price: $ 12.50