Plates for Children Plates for Children

Some parents are lucky and have kids who are eager eaters, sitting down at mealtime and polishing off their green beans, with nary a whimper or a mention of the reward awaiting them in the ice-cream bowl.

And then there are the regular kids.

If you have one of these, you may consider brightening up mealtime with some special plates selected just for Junior. Using dishware that's particularly attractive to kids follows an age-old principal: When a little child looks forward to seeing the duckies on the bottom of the bowl, the nutritious soup is more likely to be slurped down in a hurry.

Before even questioning whether your child's dishes will go with or clash with your own tableware, the first concern, of course, is safety. Dishes made of melamine are particularly strong and resistant to breakage should Junior decide the mashed potatoes will really look better on the floor than on the high chair tray.

This Jungle motif mealtime plate from Little Piggle Wiggle is made of super-strong melamine, and is dishwasher safe as well. And with an elephant and a couple of giraffes for company, Junior is sure to enjoy tucking into a big plateful of lima beans. For a little girl, the floral motif in the Garden 123 set is sure to make mealtime cheerful and fun.

Even though Junior may be prone to breaking plates, not all kids are, and not on all occasions. For those other special occasions, a personalized ceramic plate - testifying to Junior's true royal status - may well be in order.

In fact, anytime you can personalize Junior's things, the better. Kids, who don't really own anything, get a big boost out of feeling that something is really theirs. And by using their name to personalize things, you really show them that the things are theirs, and this in turn may help them take better care of the things.

One creative way to recognize a baby's birth, or subsequent birthdays, is with a plate made just for Baby, with the name and date painted on, and a picture of Baby's favorite animal.

If you're trying to coordinate the look of Junior's dinner ware with the adults' table settings, think first of color. Even if the grownups prefer bone china to melamine, you can go a long way toward making the table look of a piece just by using the same colors, and setting the places with matching table linens.

Reprinted with permission from the Sheffield School of Interior Design.

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