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Nurturing Young Children: The Importance of Family Style Meal Service Sharen Crockett, MS, CFCS Dr. Beth Wilson, CFCS, CFLE.

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Presentation on theme: "Nurturing Young Children: The Importance of Family Style Meal Service Sharen Crockett, MS, CFCS Dr. Beth Wilson, CFCS, CFLE."— Presentation transcript:

1 Nurturing Young Children: The Importance of Family Style Meal Service Sharen Crockett, MS, CFCS Dr. Beth Wilson, CFCS, CFLE

2 Family Meal Times: What Does the Research Say? A positive effect upon the character and social development of the children Family communication skills Improved nutritional intake of the entire family

3 Family Meal Times: What Does the Research Say? Development of family values and traditions Development of the culinary skills of family members Development of child’s confidence Fewer behavior problems, especially adolescent drug and alcohol use

4 Are Families Eating Together? Families eating meals together have declined significantly over the past 30 years. Parents believe that eating meals together is very important. Due to complexity of family life, less than 50% of families eat as a family regularly.

5 What is the role of early childhood professionals? Child care providers have assumed a role that was typically held by parents in nurturing young children. Viewed as: A supplement and extension, not a replacement, of good parenting A team effort with good parental involvement Good communication between staff and parents This means creating a “child-friendly” environment that: Provides nutritious foods, well-prepared and attractive Provides opportunities for learning Provides for an enjoyable experience

6 Definition: Family Style Meal Service A type of meal service that allows children to serve themselves at the table from common dishes of food with the assistance of an adult. It encourages adults to: Set a personal example Provide educational activities centered around foods Allow children to identify new foods, new tastes, and new menus Help develop a positive attitude toward nutritious foods and develop good eating habits Learn to share in group eating situations and manners

7 Family Style Meal Service is... Extremely important for early childhood programs from three viewpoints: Positive food habits, good nutrition, and long- term health (lifetime skills) Developmentally appropriate curriculum and environment for learning Compliance with quality/accreditation standards

8 Positive Aspects of Family-Style Meal Service Provides abundant opportunities to promote: Language development Cognitive development Sensorimotor development Social/emotional development Motor skills Self-esteem Independence (competency)

9 Physical Environment Safe, clean, and comfortable Child size plates, utensils, glasses and cups Furniture of right size and shape for children’s age and development

10 Foods Serve new food with familiar food Serve foods from different cultures Variety of shapes, colors, textures, flavors Do not serve any foods that represent a choking hazard

11 Division of Responsibility in Feeding Children Adults: Setting regular times for meals and snacks Planning and preparing healthy meals and snacks Assuring that the children come to the table at meal and snack time Creating a pleasant mealtime environment Children: Deciding which of the healthy foods offered they want to eat Deciding how much food they want to eat

12 Social Environment Pleasant, relaxed and peaceful Children involved—table setting, food preparation, self-service, cleanup Encourage children to eat food but do not force Food should not be used as reward or punishment Allow children to feed themselves

13 Social Environment Balance learning new skills with enjoying eating Give children time to eat

14 Social Environment Talk with children, allow for self-directed conversation (language development and social skills development) Simple rules of etiquette such as “please,” “thank you, “ and “no thank you”

15 Tips for Success Have a transition activity before a meal or snack Children should wash their hands; adults should model this behavior Use carefully planned meals and snacks—”every day foods” and “sometimes foods”

16 Tips for Success Sit with the children, model healthy eating habits, trying new foods with positive attitude, allowing the child to guide conversation Model etiquette

17 Tips for Success Send copies of menus home to parents Be aware of “teachable” moments

18 Ideas for Teaching... Introduce and discuss new colors, tastes, textures, shapes Have children measure ingredients with real kitchen measuring cups and spoons Teach the origin of foods Plan meals around holidays or community events

19 Ideas for Teaching... Provide diverse cultural experiences Have a window garden with herbs

20 Ideas for Teaching... Language development: talk about the food, how it is grown, good eating habits, proper table manners Show children how to serve the food, taking the proper amounts, what to do if a spill occurs

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