Many of you probably saw the beautiful pictures of snacks in our RIE®Certified Parent-Infant Guidance classes or maybe you were lucky to participate in this ceremony.
Today one of our parents asked me at what age I would introduce a jug, so children can pour tea by themselves. I stopped for a second because I realized that I’d never thought about it before. Now that I think about it, I would introduce a jug based on a child’s readiness and desire rather than a specific age.
Typically, I start introducing snack time when children can sit independently and stably; plus looking at their overall readiness for food.
- First, I tell the children and parents that we are going to have bananas that day.
- Then, I set up an area for the snack, a table, or a picnic-style mat.
- I wash all the children’s hands with a wet cloth, going slowly to make sure I gain cooperation and participation from each child. Children may choose to not wash their hands and not to eat. There have been snack times before where I set up an area for snacks and no one came up to wash their hands. In this case, I waited a little bit and then said, “Hmm, looks like nobody is hungry.” Pause. “I will put the bananas away.”
- After we wash our hands, I offer bibs. At first, I just offer one bib; after some time I will let the children choose from two colors. Children enjoy the opportunity to pick a color.
- Then, I serve small pieces of banana. I start with bananas because bananas are soft and delicious. Another reason is it that it has been a tradition in RIE® Parent-Infant Guidance class.
- When children feel comfortable with snack time, I add water or herbal tea, pouring it into small glass cups. Typically I use real glass cups unless there are special circumstances that require plastic cups.
- This will be a small part of the class where children have guidance from me and some expectations. For example, I will expect everyone who chooses to participate in the snack ceremony to sit on the mat or around the table. I wouldn’t serve a child snack if the child walks away. I will formulate my request in a positive manner: “Once you sit down, I will give you the banana.” I will gently point (motion) to the stool or the mat on the floor.
- When I see that the children have mastered drinking from the cups and perhaps show some interest in pouring, I will provide the jug to pour independently. Spilling is a big part of learning, so I will not worry about it and definitely make a point to talk to parents about it. It is impossible to learn about pouring liquids without spilling some. Also, I only fill up the jug part way, so that if the child spills the entire jug it is still not a big issue. I would then just offer the child a wet handcloth to clean up the spill. I may realize that I introduced the jug too early if I have to control too much spilling, throwing, or trying to drink from the jug. I can wait for a few weeks and then I will re-introduce the jug then. And again, some spilling is actually good, and experimenting in different ways with the new object (the jug) is very much expected.
I hope you can join us for the banana and tea ceremony!
Let me know if you need more information about RIE® Parent-Infant Guidance™ Classes.
Wishing you all the best in the difficult yet exciting journey of parenting!