Push me pull you…kids at meals!

14 Dec

It sometimes seems that the day is sailing along just fine until dinner, and the pushing and pulling for control begins!  Food issues can turn into control issues very quickly!  As a parent I want to have pleasant meals, good conversation, and mostly empty plates.  Sometimes, though, meals can turn into an unpleasant push for control by both kids and parents.  And there are no winners in that situation for sure!  I always give my kids 2 options for dinner: Take it or leave it.  Thats it.  Now I am no ogre and always make sure that something is on the table that everyone will eat.  In fact, when I introduce new foods, I always have a delicious beloved comfort food too.  (After all, change must come slowly!)  When there is a new food introduced, everyone must taste it.  Just a taste.  I recognize food preferences, which everyone has, and it is different from “picky”.  Children are picky because parents allow it.  I adore this Fran  Libowitz quote – “Ask your child what he wants for dinner only if he is buying”.  I think it is important, though, to listen when someone says they have a taste for something because to some extent I think the body craves what it needs, but I am not serving Oreo Ice Cream Cake for dinner!  Children come around the bend when parents are consistent and stand their ground.  That is what I do to avoid food control issues.  I have been known to say to my toddler “What would you like for a snack, yogurt or a banana?” If the response is, for example, cookies or M & M’s, my response is “Ok, I can see you have chosen not to have a snack today.”  Then I just turn away.  I only answer a question one time and try not to get engaged in a toddler fit!  Believe me, this conversation only happens once.  Suddenly a banana doesn’t sound too bad!   Children will eat what parents present, and variety is the spice of life…so spice it up!

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