I was inspired recently by an article on Ambleside Online about tea time. Charlotte Mason lived in Europe in the 1800's and of course they observed tea time. As I read the article I thought about how around 2:30-3:00 my kids need an afternoon snack and if it's missed they are more cranky. What a great way to spend quality time with my kids during their "snack" and at the same time be teaching them about etiquette, serving, and enjoying great poetry or Psalms and wonderful chatter.
So today I pulled out the box of fine China that I was recently given. It's been in a box in my closet for months as I didn't want it to break. I carefully got it ready and set the table. I started boiling water and pulled out the Cherry and Blueberry tea bags from my cupboard. I remembered the article and how they usually had cream and sugar with tea. I've never had cream in my tea before and we didn't have cream on hand so I poured a little cup of milk and brought out the honey. I told the kids I was getting a surprise ready and they should play quietly until I called them. While I was doing this my oldest kept calling to me, "Mom, I'm really hungry!" Good thing I was in the middle of cutting carrots. I set out their tea cups and saucers and then a small dessert plate with carrots, blueberries and a yummy artichoke dip for the carrots. Once it was all set out I called them to the table. I didn't have a nice tea pot just a glass measuring cup.
I invited them to sit in special spots and then served them tea. I used a bit of an ancient and asked if they'd like a spot of cream. Their little bodies transformed before my eyes from wiggly hyper children to calm little beings. Their eyes were wide and they nodded at each thing I offered them. We all carefully sipped our tea. We talked about things they wanted to share with me and then I read some of A. A. Milne poems. We laughed about Binker and the boy getting extra chocolate because he had an imaginary friend. My kids started bubbling over with things to tell me. Yet they were not yelling or hyper they were taking turns sharing little things they thought were important. I listened intently, looking at each little face, smiling and taking in what they had to say.
When we were done we carefully washed and dried the china together and found a new home for it in the kitchen, not hidden in my closet. The kids all asked if we could do this again. My littlest said, "Mommy can we do this everyday and every-night and everyday? This is fun, Mommy."
I think that says it all. Can anyone say JOY of LEARNING
To read the article that inspired me to start tea time follow the link: