Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Giving Kids Choices

Preparing meals for the family is a daily consternation for so many reasons. Some families are super organised and have meal plans for the week / month! Unfortunately, I do not operate in this manner.

In our family, we eat the same meal as the kids 90% of the time. When I am stuck for meal ideas for them, a tasting platter like the one pictured above is offered. My kids love the variety and eating with both their hands!
You would be right to assume that my kids are good eaters, most of the time. Yes, it does make my life 'easier' in most regards. However they are kids after all and specifically, toddlers, so they are unpredictable at the best of times. What seems to be their favourite for the last month may become their #1 most hated food for the next 3 months. Therefore, when they are in a broccoli phase, I include A LOT OF BROCCOLI in all their meals (including breakfasts).
My philosophy with feeding my family is simple.
  • Always offer variety. Life's too boring not to be.
  • Make your expectations obvious. If you expect your children to eat vegetables, offer them at every meal, in small quantities, even if they seem adverse to it. Expect wastage!
  • Be consistent. If you want your children to sit at the table for their meals and not chase after them, sit with them and do not chase after them. If they do not cooperate after 3 warnings remove their meal and do not offer anything else. Stay strong.
  • Offer {healthy} enticement. For example, if your children love the swings at the park, tell them that you will take them their after they have finished their meal - "no food, no swing". Do not bend the rules, stick to them. Keep your promise. Kids know!

Do not expect an immediate change. Be patient and consistent. It may take a few days / weeks / months and ... one fine day, when you least expect it, the penny will drop.

When it comes to kids, think BIG PICTURE. If you want to be able to dine outside of the home with your kids and be proud of them, make sure that those expectations are reflected in the home first.

In conclusion, I am a firm believer of "short-term pain equals long-term gain". Do not give up and it will pay dividends. Yes, the same goes for sleep training.

 Good luck!


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