Here are a few tips that work great at my house- SHARE YOURS TOO!
#1. Don’t have TOO MANY rules about eating…. we only have 3 rules at the table.
a. You have to try one bite of everything available at the table.
b. No toys/playing at the table.
c. We are grateful to be at the table- no grumpies! 🙂
#2. When creating your rules/dinner expectations, stick to your guns. If you say your going to do something, you better do it. This is a fast rule for ANY disciplinary success. So needless to say, you better agree to/have time to carry out the ultimatums and consequences you put out there! Or those smart kids will never take your word seriously.
#3. Have foods they like at the table! SIMPLE. If you are adamant to not fix “kid friendly” all the time, then have an ‘a la cart’ night once a week where everyone fixes their own- and cereal is ok!
#4. Realize that for a small child, a small portion is efficient for their bodies- example: a Tablespoon of veggies, so yes, only 2-3 mini carrots, 6 peas, 3 beans, 4 pieces of lettuce, YEP- it is enough to supply them with a full serving! It is a lost battle to ask your child to “clean up” a plate that has WAY too much food for them.
#5. When you are out to eat, especially at a place that has a kids playground/or family party, it is unwise to expect your child to eat- there is just too much distraction! And you brought them there, so just let it go after a few bites.
#6. Pick your battles carefully- just ask yourself, “Did they at least try?” or “Did they have one bite of everything?” or “Did I let them have a snack within the hour before dinner?”
#7. When they are being grumpy and rude and you have asked them ONCE to try and cheer up, just pick them up, explain we don’t have a spot for grumpies at the fun family meal and excuse them from the table- for the rest of the night, no snacks later- yep, they might be hungry, but they will eat a BIG breakfast in the morning and kids can miss one meal and be just fine- and guess what???!!! They will be happy and ready to eat at the next dinner!! Yes, I have done this on more than one occasion.
#8 Enjoy a happy table of good eaters!!