Caregivers have an important role in supporting children’s participation in family-style meals, beginning as early as toddlerhood. Guided opportunities for children to practice self-serving are important to help children learn to select healthy portions. It also helps them make connections between serving and their eating cues as well as to minimize plate waste. Children begin to learn the skills that they need to become independent eaters during their first year of life. Self-serving involves the development of motor skills such as holding utensils and passing food. It also involves social skills such as good manners, learning to share, and to care for others at the table. These skills benefit preschool aged children’s development and independence in eating at family meals.
Let’s learn more about how to help children serve themselves at family style meals:
In the Kitchen Video- Learning to feed themselves
Here are some of the things that children learn from serving themselves at family-style meals:
For more information: Self-feeding Skills Development Chart
Alternative to Family Style Meals
In some cases, family-style service is not always possible at all meals or for all foods. Be creative to find opportunities to let children practice serving:
Family style meals are an important part of helping young children develop the social and motor skills to becoming a happy, healthy, and independent eater.
For more information on supporting self-feeding skills and family style meals check out this helpful website: http://www.cals.uidaho.edu/feeding/forparents/index.html
More information on Healthy Portions for Preschoolers: