Why Family Style Dining?
Kids & Company practices family-style dining across the country for all meals and snacks served throughout the day. Family-style dining is a method of serving food to our children by bringing the main and side dishes to the table in serving bowls; this allows the children to serve themselves! Food is separated into bowls for protein, carbohydrates, veggies and fruits! This separation helps the children to learn how to portion these food groups appropriately.
The goal of family-style dining is for children to develop self-help skills, social skills, empower them to make their own food choices and create pride and ownership of the food they are eating. Children scoop their own portions and pour their own milk, improving fine motor skills. In our classes, a teacher is present at every table. They are a role model, sitting and engaging in positive conversation, while eating with the children. The children interact with their peers by taking turns, asking one another to pass the serving bowl or for more of a particular food.
By dining together as a cohesive group, with both their peers and teachers, children look around and see the members of the group enjoying the food, which makes them much more likely to try it too! In addition to creating a supportive meal environment, family style dining promotes the tradition of enjoying conversation and healthy nutritious food together. At the end of the meal, Kids & Company children scrape their own plates and help with clean-up. Try this at home! You’d be amazed at how accomplished and capable your children are!