Friday, November 18, 2005

No More Parenting Tips--Please!

Every month our elementary school sends home a newsletter that gives updates on all the activities at the school (including a lot of long-term homework projects that I haven’t heard about…) The newsletter usually has a section with useful little tips on how to “Help Children Learn.” The tips always seem to be written by earnest young education professionals who HAVE NO CHILDREN, or at least only have girls.

This week’s tips included a call to “Build your child’s school skills during family meals.” By family meals I assume the author means the placement of food on a centrally located table so that children can come and go and take whatever meets their exacting culinary standards and eat it in front of the TV?

My favorite tip was the one about suggested activities during mealtime, and--as Dave Barry would say--I am not making this up!:

“Place an interesting object in the center of the table to encourage conversation.”

I don’t know about you, but the interesting object in the center of my table is a Lazy Susan, placed there to allow 360-degree access to the ketchup bottle. It does tend to be a conversation starter, though, since the favorite activities involving the Lazy Susan are:

1) Turn it just as a brother is about to grab the ketchup bottle;

2) Spin it so that the handle of the serving spoon in the bowl of peas knocks over a brother’s glass of milk; and

3) Jiggle it so that the petals of the dead rose in the “vase” fall into a brother’s food and/or the pepper mill falls over and rolls off into the mashed potatoes.

Maybe I should start a parenting newsletter of my own.

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