Today I realised that there is a certain point in the morning when I truly breathe out a sigh and relax. It is at this point that (generally) I am truly able to be present and enjoy the kids wholeheartedly. It has taken a long time to get to this point, and I wanted to share it with you.
In my family mealtimes have always been a sit down, family affair. In my time working with children I am reminded time and again that rhythm is so beneficial. In my opinion snack time should be no different. In the schools in Reggio Emilia the children sit and eat lunch together. In the Waldorf schools the children sit together and eat snack.
It is the Waldorf schools that I am so inspired by when it comes to meals and snacks. Here is what we do…..
Before we sit at the table we each wash our hands, signing a little song whilst we ‘work’.
A little bit of soap
A little bit of water
Rub, rub, rub to make the bubbles grow.
We then sit at the table and wait for everybody. When all seated we hold hands and sing to mark the start of snack.
Are we ready, are we ready
Holding hands together, holding hands together
Ready to light the candle, ready to light the candle
Bless our meal, Bless our meal.
I light the candle in the middle of the table.
I then offer each child something to eat and drink.
Once everyone has finished the helper for the day blows out the candle. We then clear the things from the table, fold the placemats and get ready to play outside.
I have worked so hard to ensure that the children are given ‘real things’ to use. I found some great wooden bowls in a thrift store last year. We use metal cutlery and ceramic cups. So far there have been no breakages! We have tablecloth, placemats and the lit candle on the table. The children are extra careful and respectful at the table.
I keep it simple, and reliable. Sometimes it will change if we are baking that morning, or we have some great seasonal food, but generally it is predictable. The kids love that. I often hear :”yeay, it’s Monday. Granola day!”
So, yes Monday is Granola day. It may be with rice milk (we have some allergies, and everyone eats the same), soy yogurt or apple sauce.
Wednesday is Rice cakes with almond butter.
Friday is fruit salad, sometimes with yogurt.
We generally drink herbal/fruit tea. Warm in the winter and cold in the summer. We are really into Good Earth tea right now – it makes a delicious ice tea that the kids love!
So, what really makes me relax at snack time?
Maybe it is that everyone is sitting in one place so my eyes do not need to be looking everywhere!
Maybe it is that our snacktime is always the same. The children know what to expect and gain so much comfort from that. They can be having a crazy day where they are fighting or just have soooo much energy, yet when they get to the table they are calm. The expectation is that we wait until everyone is finished until we get down, so there is no rush to get onto the “next thing”. It is a time in the day when we can stop, reflect and just be together.
It certainly brings me peace most days!
Thanks for letting me share