Everyone loves sharing a meal with friends! Setting time to eat together with friends and family is therapeutic and good for our well-being. It gives us the opportunity to talk, reflect, joke and share our experiences with each other as we build and strengthen relationships. Whether we share a meal at home or at a restaurant, the experience should always be an enjoyable one full of good interactions and flavors! We know; however, that many times eating out becomes a difficult experience for our families. With this in mind, The TkidsT team took advantage of this past teacher planning day to share a meal with our kiddos, using the occasion to work on important life skills as well as social/pragmatic abilities.
During this session, our 9 to 12-year-olds had the opportunity to practice these skills in a real-life setting. As a group, they planned for the outing: picked a date, searched for restaurants, perused menus, discussed methods of transportation, problem-solved what clothes were appropriate to wear, discussed how much money to take and went over safety and behavior expectations. Needless to say, they were very excited and counting the days for this special event.
The day arrived, and our kids came ready with their wallets and appetite! We met at our facility to prepare. Each of them was responsible for bringing appropriate clothing for the event and many were able to work on specific dressing skills; from simple things like buttoning their shirts and donning them using correct orientation, to more advanced skills like getting ready within an allotted time frame to meet the time constraints. Others needed support with skills such as grooming and brushing their hair. Once they were ready, we walked as a group to a nearby restaurant for a delicious brunch! On our way there, we worked on plenty of safety awareness precautions such as: staying with the group, stopping and checking before crossing a street, staying on the sidewalk and following directions.
Once at the table, the kids had to calculate what was an appropriate menu choice based on their own specific budget. Some of the kids needed support to deal with the frustration of not finding exactly what they were hoping for. Therapists modeled and assisted the children in developing the social skills necessary to interact and communicate with the waiter. After ordering the food, we were able to engage in conversational exchanges. Everyone was attentive and in their best behavior. We talked about the importance of taking turns, maintaining topic of conversation and incorporating others’ ideas. As we ate, we worked on the fine-motor coordination skills necessary to use the utensils appropriately. It was a beautiful and fun experience for these kids, that allowed them to learn new skills and connect with each other as group. After all that’s what TKidsT is all about: supporting child’s development through relationships.
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