It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Fun? Wow!

Table Manners for Safety!!!

I am all about the education of children. Thoroughly invested in the formation of young minds and characters. It is, you might even say, my life’s calling. Healthy bodies, healthy minds.

I teach kids to eat their veggies, to use their words, to sleep, to share, not to hit, bite, scream, kick, nor eat their friends’ boogers. I keep them safe from injury, both accidental and intentional. (cf above, ‘no hitting’.)

I have spent years of my life not feeding nuts to toddlers. I have created untold miles of apple peels. I have cut food into mountains of bite-sized morsels. I have taught children to take one bite at a time — ONE! And to swallow the first bite before they cram the next one in there.

And yet through all of this care and caution and training, I have never once found it necessary to let my children know that eating is serious business. Never once.

One pictures the children of the parent successful in this eating-is-serious-business training, sitting very quietly around a table, staring nervously at the potentially deadly items mummy has so lovingly dished out on their plates.

Um. Except… Food is fun. Eating is pleasure.

Oh, but that’s not all! You can “create fun placemats with [your children] that contain key choking prevention messages.”

Fun… choking prevention messages. I don’t know that those words belong in the same sentence. Call me crazy, but I don’t see any “fun” in “choking prevention messages”. Can you just picture the visuals an 8-year-old would draw? Whee, fun. That’s what I’d like staring me in the face with each lift of my fork, uh-huh, uh-huh.

(Mind you, they mightn’t be bad strategy for any adults around the table who are trying to lose weight.)

It’s important to teach our kids how to eat safely. It is. But you know, I really think that good manners — don’t wolf your food, take small bites, chew thoroughly and with your mouth shut — pretty much cover ‘choking prevention’ … and without the disturbing visuals.

Polite eating is safe eating! Polite eating isn’t nauseating! And mealtimes can still be fun, even…


July 19, 2011 - Posted by | food, health and safety | , , , , ,


  1. You know when people say what a waste of my tax dollars. Well I’m saying it now because thats my county. Okay choking is a problem but really? Eating as serious business is the answer? Really? Placemats to the rescue…

    Comment by RHCD | July 19, 2011 | Reply

  2. You know what this reminds me of? Anyone remember the “Don’t Put it in Your Mouth” PSA? (Here’s the link for American readers:

    This is totally an example of a well-intentioned notion gone horribly, horribly wrong.

    Comment by hodgepodge | July 19, 2011 | Reply

  3. Gee and I thought I was doing it the right way by telling them “that bite is too big”, cutting their food into smaller portions and encouraging them to chew everything AND swallow before taking the next bite. If only I had known that an inexpensively laminated placemat with all the horrors of choking was the answer! While I’m at it, perhaps I’ll add cpr instructions as well. Think of all the wonderful conversation it will provoke.

    Comment by Dani | July 19, 2011 | Reply

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