In our house we use real dishes. All of us. We eat of of porcelain plates, and drink out of glasses, and we use silverware not plastic ware. When we introduced solid foods to our babies we did so with a metal spoon and a porcelain bowl. At around six months of age we began pouring a small amount of water into a very small glass, much like a shot glass, for them to drink from.
The other day our two year old and six year old were setting the table together. Each taking one dish at a time from a cart in the kitchen to its respective place on the table. My son has been helping in this way since he was around 20 months. On this evening the second glass my son took to set on the table didn't make it there. It broke when he dropped it on the tile floor on its way up to the table. I quickly asked him to step back, explaining that broken glass is very sharp, and swept up the glass. My son observed cautiously and my daughter provided a worrisome commentary. Once the glass was picked up, I got out another from the cupboard, put it on the cart and asked them to continue setting the table. My daughter said, "Your gonna give him another one?" I said, "Of course, we each need a glass to drink from for dinner." I then explained to her that he also needs a second chance, the opportunity to be successful and to know that we still trust him to do the job.
To replace the small glass it will cost $.95, but the learning that took place in it breaking is truly priceless. The lessons gleaned from a broken glass are:
1. Glass breaks
2. How to clean up carefully
3. Mistakes are opportunities to learn
4. How to recover and move-on after a mistake
5. Our parents are here for us to protect us and help us when we need them
The other day a friend and her son were over. Our two young boys were playing legos in the living room. Our young guest started playing kinda rough with a small plant stand that we have and my son rushed to him and said, "careful - GLASS!" I would say he learned a lot the day the glass broke!
Do you trust your children to use real dishes at home? If not, how will they be prepared to use them when they are out?