Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Lĭt / uh / ruh / sē Äw / fĭs

Holiday Dinners: Avoiding the Kid's Table Syndrome
National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance
Mary Brigid Barrett – 2004

On holidays, I was always stuck at the kid's table. The best china, crystal goblets, and elegant linens were placed on the grown-up table. The kid's table was set with the everyday dishes, plastic cups, and lots of paper napkins. The grown-ups feasted on the choicest cuts of turkey and ham, creamy potatoes, savory sauces, fresh vegetables, and real cranberries. Plain meat and potatoes, canned peas, and jellied cranberry sauce were our lot. The grown-ups engaged in animated conversations, gossiping, sharing family stories, discussing important current events and politics. At the kids table my time was spent judging burp contests. I also spent a great deal of time protecting my mashed potatoes from the determined efforts of my younger brother whose main goal was to bombard them with squished peas. I longed for the day when I would get to move up to the "big" table.

My nine year old yearnings stemmed from a desire to be more "grown-up" but they also stemmed from a desire to be part of the grown-up world of conversation. Not only did I know the food was better at the grown-ups' table but my instincts told me the talk was better, too. Real interesting stuff was being discussed and I was missing it.

This holiday season ban the children's table, bring the kids up to the big table, and let the conversation begin! If Great Uncle Bob can't tolerate three year olds, put your preschooler next to imperturbable Uncle Stanley. If Granny Louisa thinks kids have no place at the adult table, tell her that the kids are eager to hear her childhood holiday memories at dinner. Encourage your children to both listen and engage in the dinner conversation. Just keep the stack of paper napkins nearby for the inevitable glass of spilled milk! READ MORE !

1 comment:

Kim said...

I agree with you. Children who are raised to participate will rise to the occasion, and they grow up as socially comfortable and capable adults. It tends to liven up the adults table as well.