As a parent, one has to go through many struggles. Children are so hard to please with their unreasonable demands. Kids these days are exposed to so much that they will downright refuse to eat a meal that you took so long to prepare. If they don’t like what they see on their plate, they will try and pester you into ordering a pizza or a burger (or whatever it is that appeals to their palate) for them. They are too young to understand the effort that goes into making this meal that they so strongly despise. There is nothing we can do about that – or so you think! Find out how you can finally make mealtimes less stressful and more FUN!
TIP #1: Establish Rules
You can control how your child behaves at the dining table by establishing rules for the whole family. For one, you could tell them that they are not to get up unless everyone at the table is done with their meal. You could even tell them that as a rule, they should avoid spilling their food outside their plate. You may also make it a habit to pray before a meal. After the meal is over, everyone has to go empty and clean the plates on their own.
TIP #2: Get Them Involved
Children love getting attention and more than that, they like being taken seriously. If you ask them to help out with real, grown-up chores, in most cases, they will agree. You could ask them to help you pick out vegetable or fruit at the grocery store. Teach them how to check if it’s fresh or not. LAter, you could ask them to wash the vegetables and keep the plates ready at the table. Getting them involved with the process will give them a sense of understanding what goes into making the meals. To make this even more effective, you could show them how each vegetable or fruit actually grows and how it is harvested.
TIP #3: Only Water Between Mealtimes
One way to get them to finish up their meals is to ensure they are hungry when they sit down for a meal. Between meals (and snacks), children should be encouraged to drink plenty of water. If they snack an hour before lunch-time, it is unlikely that they will feel hungry at lunch-time and may thus not finish their food.
TIP #4: Make It A Fun Family Thing!
Most households incorporate a habit of talking to the family during meal times. Talk about how your day went and focus on the positives. End your story with a lesson you learned that day. Encourage your kids to do the same.You could even strike up a conversation by asking an interesting question and having everyone at the table take their turn to try and answer it. It also helps to sing a short prayer of gratitude for the food on your table. This way, they will look forward to mealtimes, not just to eat but also to bond.
TIP #5: Praise Good Habits
When your child does finish every single item on the plate, praise them. If they have only left out one vegetable, praise them. When they eat without any fuss, praise them. The more positive acknowledgement they get for eating well, the more likely it is that their eating habits improve.
TIP #6: Serve The Same Meal To Everyone
Don’t go out of your way to prepare separate meals for everyone in the family. If you show your child that they have the power to decide what they have to eat, they will only get more demanding and fussy. Instead, prepare the same meal for everyone in the family. If your child says they want something else, just say there is nothing else available. If your child is hungry they will end up eating it anyway.
TIP #7: Try To Remain Calm
Hunger is a funny thing, and it can make our kids act real funny too. When you try out point #4, chances are your child will get angry. Most children do make a fuss from time to time about not being given their favourite food. They may even throw tantrums to get your attention. The key is to not pay attention to their fuss. With a calm mind, ignore their tantrums and once they do calm down, try offering the food again. They will be tired and hungry by then and they will eat it. They might find the food tasty even, much to their surprise