Fredericksburg Parent

July 2012

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family values healthier kid options, ask if the restaurant will do half entrees (many will), let children share an adult entree or order several entrees and share family style. At the Table Always the server to the family and let children order for themselves referring to the server by name, if age appropriate. Remember, this is a learning experience. Make sure to clear the table before you eat. Restaurants are rarely childproof. Survey the table and remove any unnecessary items to help keep the meal accident free. A few clues; candles (they hold a certain magnetism), knives, utensils in general based on age, anything that can be grabbed and hurled and any clutter that could precipitate spills. Then equip the table with objects brought from home necessary for success; plastic utensils, sippy cups, placemats and bibs. Now that the table is prepared, make dining out family time, not coloring time for children and adult talk time. refer to your server by name. Introduce "Often, when adults go out to eat, they think it's time to relax and have adult when a child starts to get antsy," says Jayne Bellando, PhD, a pediatric psychologist at the Arkansas Children's Hospital, in Little conversation. That's everyone at the table in conversation, teaching children the fine art of conversing; talk about the day, art on the wall (make up stories based on wall art), colors in the room or round robin table games (complete a sentence or make a story). Have some small quiet toys available, or make up games; "I Spy" or arrange letters/numbers out of sugars packets. Keep boredom at bay and use it as a time to genuinely connect. If children feel ignored, they will use any means to get attention, which means the rest of the room will be paying attention. If your child acts up during the meal, simply step outside together until he regains composure. As one wise friend put it, don't expect to be seated and get up when you are finished. Expect to be out of your seat at least half of the time you are there. Use that as the measure of success. Children are children and learning is a process. Two cautions for family dining: 1) think of others by never changing a baby or toddler at the table and 2) if nursing, cover up and keep the baby's meal between you and your infant. Rock.Include continued on pg 22 Kids Eat Free Websites - Put in area code or city and it will list all of the kids deals and on which nights they occur. • • • • www.fredericksburgparent.NET 21

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