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CHILDREN AND CHINA CAN GET ALONG AT THE DINNER TABLE

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Children need not be the nemesis to your china, says Peter Jungkunst, executive vice president of Hutschenreuther Corp., maker of fine porcelain.

"In these days of disposable consumerism," he says, "why not teach your children the value of beauty, quality and style. We initiate our children into some of the finer things in life . . . the theater, the opera, museums, and then expect them to dine on plastic dishes."Jungkunst offers these tips to minimize mishaps at the dinner table:

- Start teaching children at a young age to respect and treat quality furnishings gently whether it's an antique mahogany table or fine porcelain dinnerware.

- When setting the table, be sure to use soft placemats, which not only enhance the beauty of the setting but act as cushions if any china is dropped.

- "Tiffany's Tablemanners for Teen-agers" is a worthwhile investment for any parent. This book is well-illustrated and written in language any child can understand.

- Probably the most fragile of all table settings is the stemware. It is best to let children use tumblers.

- Encourage children to help set the table, but let them lay out placemats and flatware, not the porcelain.