Dinner Time Chatter
Dinner Time Chatter
Welcome everyone to Practical Tips! We’re here to provide you with information, including therapeutic strategies and tips that can easily be used in your daily lives. Our multi-disciplinary approach towards helping children allows us to look at them as a whole and provide a team approach to develop critical skills for daily living.
The ability to communicate and perform basic daily living skills are the foundation for successful participation in family, social, and academic activities. We recognize that families are an important part of their child’s life and that sometimes life can get hectic. Each issue we will discuss a topic of interest and give you tips and strategies that you can use at home and in your daily lives to help support your child’s skill development.
We look forward to working with Parenting Special Needs and hopefully making life a little easier for you all!
In this issue, we will look at the many opportunities for communication and motor development during a very important time of the day….MEALTIME!
Chewing and Chattering
Dinner time can be a great chance to help your child develop his/her everyday language skills. They are focused during a meal and are usually free from anxiety and willing to interact.
For young children, choose a few words to focus on during the meal (some examples are below). Pick one or two words each week and really concentrate on using them during meal time. Children have to understand a word before they use it, so make sure you demonstrate what the word is and when it is used. Once they understand the words, then they can start to say them. Also, children learn from repetition; the more they hear you use the words, the quicker they will learn them.
Mealtime words for young learners
- Open – to request help opening containers, cereal boxes, or food wrappers.
- More – to request more food or drink; can be used for each bite.
- All done – to signal being done eating, before getting down from table.
- Eat/Drink – at the beginning of the meal to indicate it’s time for dinner, during a meal to show what you are doing or what is wanted.
For adolescents,meal time is a great opportunity to build vocabulary and language skills. You can:
- Have your child name the foods and their colors.
- Practice naming ‘where’ items are (i.e. the peas are ‘on’ the plate, the milk is ‘in’ the cup, your feet are ‘under’ the table)
- Talk about how different foods taste/feel or how they are shaped (i.e. the potatoes are ‘fluffy’, the watermelon is ‘sweet’, the grapes are ‘round’, the milk is ‘cold’, the chicken is ‘hot’)
- Ask questions that require a choice (i.e. Do you want milk or juice?)
- Practice using pronouns (i.e. This is my fork, That is your spoon, That is his/her cup)
For older children, use mealtime to practice conversation skills and social language, as well as to build vocabulary skills.
- Go around the table and have everyone tell one thing they did during the day or what their favorite part of the day was.
- Ask your children how their day was and how they are feeling.
Related: MOTORING through MEALTIME
Visit Anna & Hope Online:
- Do you struggle with planning healthy meals for your family?
- Dinner’s On: How to Cook Once and Feed All Eaters
- Expanding Food Options for the PICKY EATER
- My Baby Won’t Eat! Tips from a Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist
- Being a Role Model
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