When it comes to parenting I think most of you will agree that nothing challenges us more than getting kids to eat well. The dinner table can become a battlefield for even the calmest of families.
It’s here we often bring out the so-called ‘big guns’ in hope of enticing our kids to eat with relish whatever we dish up. I know I’m not the only guilty party that repeats ‘token phrases’ we were brought up with, but what should we really be saying to aid in the whole mealtime fiasco?
Though our goal is to encourage eating through positive reinforcement and words of praise, sometimes it all goes horribly wrong with our kids hearing something completely different…leaving us off probably not saying anything at all.
Here are 7 things your shouldn’t say to your kids at meal times. With suggestions for a better approach
1. The labeller
Parent – “My child is such a picky eater.”
Child hears – “I am a picky eater, I am a picky eater, I will always be a picky eater.“
Try this instead – Try to avoid labelling your child, especially when they can hear you! Labels can become subconscious prophecies and often make the matter worse in the long run. Keep things positive and highlight the healthy things they do eat.
2. When is full, full?
Parent – “Have a few more mouthfuls please before you leave the table.“
Child hears – “Only my parents can decide for me when I have had enough to eat.“
Try this instead – “There is no more food now until breakfast (or next meal, whatever that is) so make sure you are filling up now and getting enough to eat.” Over and out.
3. The bargainer
Parent – “If you eat all your veggies you can have some ice-cream.”
Child hears – “These veggies are just an obstacle I have to get through to get to the good stuff.“
Try this instead – Talk about healthy eating and make eating vegetables a positive experience through role play, games and exciting meals.
4. The reverse psychology treatment
Parent – “Your sister/brother is such a good eater; look at them eating all their meal.“
Child hears – “I am a crap eater, I’ll never be as good as my sister/brother.“
Try this instead – Don’t feel you can’t praise the other child but just explain to the non-eater that it takes time to get used to certain tastes.
5. The art of re-wording
Parent – “We don’t have lollies all the time because they are bad for us.“
Child hears – “Lollies are yummy so bad means yummy!“
Try this instead – “Lollies are not good for our teeth and something we only eat at special times.”
6. The giver innerer
Parent – “If you’re not going to eat that I will make you something else.“
Child hears – “Yah, I never have to try this unusual/non favourite food because mum will always make me something else.“
Try this instead – “ We all eat the same meal in our house and we will have one of your favourite meals another night.“
7. The rewarder
Parent – “I’ll buy an ice-cream for you if you’re good“
Child hears – “I’ll only be good so I can get an ice-cream.“
Try this instead – Try to leave food out of rewards. Rewarding with food can often lead to a poor food=reward=makes me feel better relationship that can then lead to binge eating and dieting as they get older. Use other rewards such as stickers, family time, one on one time with mum or dad, a special day out or even a small toy they’ve been dreaming about.
Tell me .. What’s the most common one liner you bring out at meal time?
This post appeared first on Kidspot which is super handy to call upon while I’m in Hawaii 😉