Food and Talk With Children – VP of Curriculum Dee McDonald
A new year often inspires people to make positive changes in their lives. It’s difficult to fulfill New Year’s resolutions when somebody can’t hold you accountable throughout the year. One resolution that can be planned and should be on your list is sharing family meals and conversations on a consistent basis.
Children need social stimulation to develop their communication skills. There are many research studies available that point out regardless of age, conversation with adults is an essential building block for all children.
An excerpt from a Stanford University study:
“We found that when a parent (or caregiver) talks directly to the child in an engaged and supportive manner, that’s what is correlated with the child’s language processing ability and vocabulary learning,”
In the past, dinnertime was an important family institution where through conversation, vocabulary was built, issues were discussed and problems were solved. Family sit-down meals are now harder to plan with packed separate schedules, work hours and a troubling trend in technology addition.
This clever social experiment video from a pasta sauce company shows how oblivious kids can be to their surroundings (including conversation) when engrossed in their tablet.
The National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) did a survey in 2002 on what common factor all National Merit Scholars have. With their results in, they found out that every National Merit Scholar ate with their families 3 or more times a week. Reasons for this stunning common factor may be that scholars spend more time with their families, learn to follow a schedule, and they spend less time watching television.
One of my friends who is a father posted on Facebook answers that his children gave to various questions he asked them. Their answers were insightful as he realized how little he knew what his kids were thinking and how they viewed him as a father. Here’s a sample of his 6 year old son’s responses.
Question: What is something I say a lot? Answer: Stop!
Question: What makes me happy? Answer: Star Wars
Question: What makes me sad? Answer: Star Wars
Question: How do I annoy you? Answer: By saying “stop”.
Set your New Year’s Resolution to have more family dinners together and to talk more. This article from Aha Parenting gives some tips on how to have conversations at the dinner table with your child. Enjoy 2017 by not only setting the table for healthy meals, but by also setting a standard of healthy communication with your children.