Children Practice Social Skills and Model Appropriate Eating During Snack Time

January 04, 2018

In the classrooms of Crossroads, snack time is frequently much more than simply snack time.

In addition to taking in needed nourishments and hydration, the children also have this time each day to sit at the table with their friends. If you’re an observer during snack time, you’ll notice many cool tasks happening at the table, such as interacting, trying new foods, following through on foods Mom and Dad wanted their little one to eat, modeling appropriate eating routines, and so on.  



Lots of times, snack time is when teachers will introduce a new healthy item to the classroom. Sometimes a child who previously found the appearance of new foods aversive will show improved tolerance when a new food appears while a familiar and preferred one is present.      Young children will often watch each other for cues of how to behave,  making snack time a great way for them to adopt new foods into their  repertoires.

 Considering that our Healthy Food Program, which is grant-sponsored by The Schenectady Foundation, is guided by a vision that all children in our care will improve their individual eating habits during their time with  us, and grow to be healthy, pro-nourished individuals, our teachers and therapists are always finding fantastic ways to work on the eating challenges that take our special needs population by storm. For our nursery and daycare students, too, healthy eating is something to be learned early for best health through life.     Furthermore, snack time is a great opportunity for teaching in the moment. For instance, young children many times will reach for an item that is in front of another child; this might give the teachers a chance to teach the child how to ask, or, in other cases, to eat what parents packed for him or her that day.

And there are several more social, attending and self-care aspects of snack time, too. For example, retrieving snacks from cubbies and backpacks when requested by the teachers, remaining in seats with others at a table for an established duration of time, cleaning up after selves when snack time is done, throwing away trash in the bin, while saving utensils and dishes that need to be washed. For young children these are all skills to be practiced with consistency in order that our students grow to function with maximum independence in life. This also serves as a time to teach communication skills. A speech therapist teaches her student to label the items in his lunch box, so that he will eventually learn to request those foods by name; she works with a child to say, “punch.”  Another student says, “do you want one?” holding a tasty fruit snack out to his teacher following her comment to him that his mommy packed him something yummy, demonstrating the familiar social skill of offering to share. 

We’re always proud of our students’ progress and gains with all the skills they work on during the school day, as well as hearing the great things they are doing at home. If you have a story about a skill your child has learned or practiced during snack time or meal time at home, please leave us a comment! We’d love to hear from you!

Interested in this topic? Read more stories:

Healthy Snack Success

Cucumber Salad, a Healthy Food Group Success!


Healthy Food Program News


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