This past weekend I participated in a biking riding event. After a 25 mile ride along the rolling hills of the scenic Ohio River, a meal was provided to the riders. This gave us the opportunity to celebrate completing the ride, and also refuel physically and socially with our peers. The meal was a wonderful idea — and just what I needed after a long ride! Whenever I get the chance to sit down with friends and family and share a meal, I call it “Connect and Recharge Mealtime”– it is one of my favorite times of day!
Just as adults need mealtimes to connect and recharge, so do children! Mealtime meets many important needs of children. Physical needs are met when nutritious foods are served. Social and emotional needs are met through positive conversations with their family, peers and caregivers. Their cognitive needs are met with rich language experiences shared during table talk.
Here are a few simple steps to turn your regular mealtimes into meals that help students connect and recharge:
-offer nutritious foods
-involve the children by having them assist in setting the table and cleaning up
-encourage children to take their time and not to rush while eating
-provide relaxing and comforting routines
-model appropriate table manners
-sit with the children to observe for safety and support rich positive conversation
Next weekend I will participate in another biking event – the Hilly 100! That’s right – 100 miles of biking in southern Indiana. I am looking forward to the ride, but even more, I am looking forward to the mealtime after the event. Boy, will I need to recharge and connect!!!