Children are less likely to fight with their siblings or otherwise misbehave at the dinner table if they are given small pieces of food they can pick up with a fork, according to a recent study carried out by researchers at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.
Particularly for children between ages six and 10, a plate full of bite-sized pieces that can be picked up with a fork could be parents’ best way to ensure peace during dinner.
The findings were gathered during a two-day experiment in which researchers observed 12 children at a summer camp. At lunchtime, the children were divided into two tables. Chicken on the bone was served at one table and boneless chicken that had been cut into pieces was served at the other. The following day, the groups were switched. On both days, kids who had been given the chicken on the bone were notably more rowdy.
"They were twice as likely to disobey adults and twice as aggressive toward other kids," notes researcher Brian Wansink. While he says that cutting up food won’t solve all the problems, he suggests that encouraging kids to eat with a fork is a step towards better behaved children.