Title

The meaning of mealtime routines for young children and their families

Start Time

6-10-2012 8:30 AM

End Time

6-10-2012 9:00 AM

Session Type

Event

Abstract

Current research in the area of family mealtime routines suggests that family meals are complex, packed events of recurring “meaning laden” activities or practices in which children learn many different skills. (Fiese, Foley, & Spagnola, 2006; Larson, Branscomb, & Wiley, 2006). While literature supports the importance of mealtime routines in enhancing child development in specific skill acquisitions, socialization, and communication, few studies in the have examined how the effect of family mealtime routines help children construct the occupation of feeding and eating. This theoretical paper will examine the literature regarding family mealtime routines and their impact on the occupation of feeding and eating in young children.

Schuck & Bucy (1997) defined family routines as “occupations that occur in the home on a daily basis and assist in organizing time, that is, they provide structure to family life” (p. 98). Literature suggests that family mealtime routines and rituals are part of a “larger ecology associated with satisfaction with family relationships and related to child competence in domains outside of the family” (Bronfenbrenner & Evans, 2000, as cited in Fiese et al., 2002). Families with children who participated in the occupation of mealtime had a sense of shared identity and a structure to family life (Evans & Rodger, 2008) As occupational scientists, we recognize that all people are occupational beings and engagement in occupations is related to health and well-being, quality of life, and social participation (Clark & Lawlor, 2009). Occupational scientists have a vested interest in aspects of routines and rituals as they provide a window for understanding the meaning of occupation (Evans & Rodger, 2008).

This presentation will examine the theoretical constructs of what constitutes mealtime rituals and routines in order to look more closely at the meaning of mealtime for young children and their families from an occupational science perspective. Evidence will be presented that mealtime routines are important in enhancing child development in specific skill acquisition, socialization, communication, structuring family identify, socializing children into their family culture, promoting resilience, and influencing the health and well-being of the child and family. Findings will be applied using the Person-Environment-Occupation model along with Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems model in order to examine the meaning of mealtime routines from an occupational science perspective (Bronfenbrenner, 1977)

Discussion questions:

  1. How can evidence around the meaning of mealtime for young children help inform both occupational science and occupational therapy and contribute to the continued development of family systems theory and family centered interventions?
  2. What future research is needed in the area of examining the meaning of mealtime routines for young children and families that will inform occupational science?

References

Bronfenbrenner, U. (1977). Toward an experimental ecology of human development. American Psychologist, 32, 513-531. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.32.7.513

Evans, J., & Rodger, S. (2008). Mealtimes and bedtimes: Windows to family routines and rituals. Journal of Occupational Science, 15(2), 98-104. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14427591.2008.9686615

Fiese, B., Tomcho, T., Douglas, M., Josephs, K., Poltrock, S., & Baker, T.(2002). A review of 50 years of research on naturally occurring family routines and rituals: Cause for celebration? Journal of Family Psychology, 16(4), 381-390. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037//0893-3200.16.4.381

Larson, R., Branscomb, K., & Wiley, A. (2006). Forms and functions of family mealtimes: Multidisciplinary perspectives. New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, 111, 1-15. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cad.151

Schuck, L., & Bucy, J.E. (1997). Family rituals: Implications for early intervention. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 17(4), 477-493. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/027112149701700407

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Theoretical paper

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Oct 6th, 8:30 AM Oct 6th, 9:00 AM

The meaning of mealtime routines for young children and their families

Current research in the area of family mealtime routines suggests that family meals are complex, packed events of recurring “meaning laden” activities or practices in which children learn many different skills. (Fiese, Foley, & Spagnola, 2006; Larson, Branscomb, & Wiley, 2006). While literature supports the importance of mealtime routines in enhancing child development in specific skill acquisitions, socialization, and communication, few studies in the have examined how the effect of family mealtime routines help children construct the occupation of feeding and eating. This theoretical paper will examine the literature regarding family mealtime routines and their impact on the occupation of feeding and eating in young children.

Schuck & Bucy (1997) defined family routines as “occupations that occur in the home on a daily basis and assist in organizing time, that is, they provide structure to family life” (p. 98). Literature suggests that family mealtime routines and rituals are part of a “larger ecology associated with satisfaction with family relationships and related to child competence in domains outside of the family” (Bronfenbrenner & Evans, 2000, as cited in Fiese et al., 2002). Families with children who participated in the occupation of mealtime had a sense of shared identity and a structure to family life (Evans & Rodger, 2008) As occupational scientists, we recognize that all people are occupational beings and engagement in occupations is related to health and well-being, quality of life, and social participation (Clark & Lawlor, 2009). Occupational scientists have a vested interest in aspects of routines and rituals as they provide a window for understanding the meaning of occupation (Evans & Rodger, 2008).

This presentation will examine the theoretical constructs of what constitutes mealtime rituals and routines in order to look more closely at the meaning of mealtime for young children and their families from an occupational science perspective. Evidence will be presented that mealtime routines are important in enhancing child development in specific skill acquisition, socialization, communication, structuring family identify, socializing children into their family culture, promoting resilience, and influencing the health and well-being of the child and family. Findings will be applied using the Person-Environment-Occupation model along with Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems model in order to examine the meaning of mealtime routines from an occupational science perspective (Bronfenbrenner, 1977)

Discussion questions:

  1. How can evidence around the meaning of mealtime for young children help inform both occupational science and occupational therapy and contribute to the continued development of family systems theory and family centered interventions?
  2. What future research is needed in the area of examining the meaning of mealtime routines for young children and families that will inform occupational science?