15 Months 2 Weeks – Eat Out with Your Child & Encourage Language and Age-Appropriate Feeding Skills

Roman eating at a resturantNow that your child’s schedule and behavior is more predictable take them out to eat!  It’s a great way to practice first words and social skills.  Yes at times it could be stressful, but for the most part it is a great learning experience about restaurant “etiquette” as well.  It’s also great preparation for vacation since you cannot always eat in.  Here are some opportunities for language learning!                                                  

Greetings – Have your child wave or say “Hi” and “Bye” to anyone who seats you and the waiters and waitresses.

Polite Markers – Have them practice the sign for “Thank you” or even saying an approximation of it.  You verbally modeling polite makers is great too!

Asking for Help – Opening items and using utensils can often be difficult for toddlers, so it is a perfect opportunity to ask for assistance.

Using Utensils and Cups – At this age your child should try to be feeding themselves and learning to drink from a cup.  Use physical prompting as needed.

Ordering and Labeling Food – If they’re up to it you can have them order food in 1-2 word phrases… they can always imitate what you say!  If they do not order independently have them point at a picture of their desired breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  When it arrives point and label each item.

Requesting toys – Many restaurants have items such as crayons to keep kids busy.  Have your child request an item if possible.

Talk about Temperature, Taste, Color, Texture, and Smell – Comment on foods by using words such as “hot”, “cold”, “yummy”, “salty”, “sour”, “sweet”, “bumpy”, etc.

Practice Basic Conversation – Ask basic questions such as “Do you like it?” or “Do you want more?” to target answers such as “yes” or “more”.

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