FROM THE SUPERINTENDENT’S SEAT
Your Table Will Be Ready In 20 Minutes
Remember the last time you went out for dinner and had to wait to be seated? At times, hungry children become ‘cranky’ and impatient. By the time you are seated, what was intended to be a relaxing evening is not as pleasant as it should have been. Parents can turn the waiting experience into an opportunity to teach children patience and resourcefulness.
Begin by taking the time to explain that you will all have to wait before dinner, but will have a great time nonetheless. It is always a good idea to keep items handy that your child likes, perhaps store them in the car. These items may include crayons, pens, markers, paper and maze, game and coloring books. A short picture book or novel for older children will also come in handy. Activities, such as reading, drawing and writing, allow children to practice what they have learned in school and are a great way to pass the time while engaging in constructive pursuits. Random doodling and story telling through pictures encourages creative expression and can happily engage an artistic child.
Younger children may need a little more direction and attention. For example, if you are dining at a seafood restaurant, walk over to the lobster tank and explain why lobsters are classified as crustaceans or what they use their claws for. Engage your child in a discussion and ask him or her to think of other animals with similar characteristics. Most children will enjoy observing lobster movement, body structure and learning about science while they watch.
Once you sit down at the dinner table, reintroduce items you brought, such as crayons and construction paper, and encourage your child to draw a picture, doodle or write a story. Most family style restaurants offer a children’s menu and provide a coloring book, game sheet or child centered place mat to help occupy your little one. Give older children a topic and ask them to write and illustrate a short book or devise a homemade crossword puzzle. Hang man, tic-tac-toe, and drawing a card for an upcoming birthday or event incorporate practicing strategy, alphabet writing, small motor skills and creativity to benefit your child in more ways than one. Ask your child what games he or she enjoys and use this opportunity to find out about their day. Use your imagination and inventiveness to make sure you are all enjoying family time together.
Parents should creatively try to always keep the child’s interests in mind when proposing games to pass the time. Even if you forget items to occupy your child, a place mat and ballpoint pen, when combined with imagination and creativity, can lead to lots of fun. Additionally, if parents maintain a positive attitude, most of the time children will follow suit.#