JANUARY 2019 • LONGISLANDPRESS.COM 43
FAMILY & EDUCATION
THE POWER OF TALKING WITH KIDS AT THE DINNER TABLE
continued from page 41
During dinner table talk time,
children learn how to converse with
others. Children need time to express
themselves in a safe place and learn
how to communicate in a coherent,
At all ages, it’s important that each
person at the table have time to talk.
The literacy skill of having a discussion
with a beginning, middle, and an
end helps your child in school to write
a story, answer questions in class,
and develop listening and thinking
skills. If the conversations do not flow
easily, have a basket next to the table
with conversation starter cards. I
recommend using CareMail: Communicating
with Kids by LetzTalk.
Elementary-aged children are
developing language skills. When
adults give time for children to talk,
they can experiment with language,
practice saying words aloud, and
formulate a clear thought. During
the time the child is talking, an adult
can assess if the child is using words
properly, pronouncing words correctly,
and explaining their thinking.
It can also be a time for an adult to
teach and model these skills.
EYE CONTACT SKILLS
While you are at the dinner table,
make sure the space allows for people
to have face time with each other.
It is beneficial for children to learn
that making eye contact during a conversation
helps people know you are
paying attention to them and value
what is being said. Sit across from
each other at the table. When the
conversation is going, make sure that
each person is looking at the person
who is speaking.
If you teach this skill at home, then
children will most likely transfer that
into the classroom and be more inclined
to look at and listen to the teacher.
One way to get children to stay seated
at the table long enough to finish dinner
is to have fictional storytelling time.
Place a deck of cards with related
pictures on the table. Each person takes
a card and starts telling a story about
the pictures. The next person then has
to link the story together using information
obtained from the last person’s
story with the new card, and so on.
By the time each person has told
the story on the card, there will be a
beginning, middle, and an end. This
literacy skill then transfers to your
child having more confidence when
starting to write stories in class, and
bolsters creative thinking and writing
skills. I recommend using Eeboo
Create A Story Cards.
SOCIAL & EMOTIONAL
During dinner table talk time,
children learn skills like manners,
respect, and kindness.
Kindness counts at the dinner table,
and the adults are the models. Say
thank you to the cook. Help set the
table. Gather the food. Help put dishes
away. Use proper eating manners.
All these skills are important for
children to see on a regular basis so
they feel a sense of routine and ritual.
Having routines and rituals in family
life provides a comforting framework
to help children to feel safe and secure.
Feeling safe and secure at home provides
the building blocks for children
to be able to cope in school situations.
From time to time, play games that support
social and emotional intelligence.
I recommend Q’s Race to the Top.
It is also important for children to
be able to look at a situation and know
what to do. For example, if someone
puts a right hand out, you should shake
back with your right hand.
Photo Conversation Cards by
Sherrill B. Flora provide pictures of
practical situations that children will
encounter. Put two or three photo
cards out at the dinner table and talk
about the situation in the photo. The
conversations that start by looking at
these pictures are endless.
Erin Fealy Cunningham, Ph.D.,
is an educational consultant and
Is your child struggling in school? We can help.
The Winston Preparatory
School does not discriminate
against applicants and
students on the basis of race,
color, or national or ethnic
origin. The WPSLI campus
is not associated with the
Half Hollow Hills Central
57 West Rocks Road
Norwalk, CT 06851
126 West 17th Street
New York, NY 10011
901 Route 10 East
Whippany, NJ 07981
240 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10016
30 Deforest Road
Dix Hills, NY 11746
APPLY NOW www.winstonprep.edu email@example.com