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Saturday, January 06, 2007

Eating With Kids

by Colleen Gleason

Trish Morey (author of the keep-you-in-your-chair-until-you-finish-it, Waldenbooks Best Seller List The Greek's Virgin) wrote a Top Ten article this month about Traveling with Kids.

Thank you Trish (especially the part about not letting the hubby get the sleeping pills if pregnant-you can't have them...I like the way you think!) for the suggestions.

I have three children between 5 and 10, and we actually do a lot of those things you suggested (the personal chocolate stash is something I've never done, but you can be sure I'll be hitting the Godiva store in secret before our family trip to DC this summer).

Anyway, Trish's article got me to thinking about another challenge we have with younger children--one we face every day, not just when traveling--and that's how to eat with them.

Meaning, how to keep the dinner table (whether it be at home or out) from becoming a free-for-all of people talking over each other, getting up and jumping around, harassing each other, jiggling the table (I only have one boy, but there are times when it feels like three!).

So we've come up with a series of game we play, and when we do this, we are able to have a nice, calm dinner--and everyone actually eats!

I thought I'd share our family games and see if anyone else has other suggestions we can add to our repertoire.

1. The Movie Game~ speak a line from a movie (that we've all seen) and the others identify the character and movie

2. The Animal Game~ think of an animal, and give us its habitat (ie, savannah, jungle, desert, ocean, our backyard, forest, etc.), then we ask yes or no questions until someone guesses the animal.

3. Who Am I?~ Think of a fictional character from book, movie or TV and the others ask yes or no questions to identify the character.

4. Who Am I?~ Same as above, but not for a fictional character.

5. The Spelling Game~ Mom or Dad go around the table and give each kid a word to spell (based on their age/grade level). If the person can't spell it, anyone else can try.

6. The Mix-up Game~Mom or Dad thinks of two items, any two items, apple and a horseshoe...and the others try to figure out what it would be like if they were combined. A metal apple with a long, curving handle? An apple carved into the shape of a horseshoe?

7. The Movie Trivia Game~ Someone asks a very detailed question (that they know the answer to) about a movie. Like, "Is Jack Sparrow wearing his hat when he asks, 'But why is all the rum gone?'"

I'd love to know what you do to keep your kids interested at the dinner table. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?


At 6:02 AM, Blogger Trish Morey said...

Colleen, I love the sound of the mix-up game! What a great idea to get the imagination working.

I must admit, we never had to work at making our kids eat. I think when you have enough, they work out they have to eat fast or it's all gone. Maybe you should try for number 4?? :-))

(I bet that wasn't the kind of game you had in mind, huh?)


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