Food and nutrition are important but for many families, mealtime can be a struggle. The simplest solution for this issue is to make the focus more on connecting as a family instead of a food battle. Studies show that children who eat with their family tend to eat more fruits and vegetables and are less likely to become obese in later years.
How do you make this family mealtime work for you?
Choose a Time
First, you need a time that works for everyone. This doesn’t have to be dinner, it can be breakfast or any meal that is set for the entire family. Remember that this should be a calm, fun time and not a stressful moment for everyone.
Turn off the television and put away phones and tablets. While distraction is a good thing sometimes, this is not one of them. This is the perfect time for children to learn social skills and connect with their parents and siblings. By removing electronics from the room, you immediately allow everyone to focus on what is important… each other!
Eat a Variety
If you have fussy eaters, as many families do, make a point of introducing new foods from time to time, in a non-stressful way. It’s helpful to provide something familiar for them to eat, alongside the new food. You can also set a good example by eating new foods. Many children will copy their parents and tend to eat what they eat. If you’re picky, your children will be, as well.
Don’t Fuss Over Food
Fighting about food can be quite frustrating and may eventually result in eating disorders in some children. It also ruins the stability that is built up by providing a family meal.
Instead of fussing over what a child eats or doesn’t eat, ask them to taste test something if they’re reluctant, but don’t push it. You can also eat your own food and offer a bite from your plate if your child is more likely to accept this. It’s also best to avoid making multiple meals for the same family. You may adjust the meal slightly, but what you cook is what there is to eat. This eases the stress on the cook and ensures children aren’t always given what they want.
If the child refuses to eat, you can still involve them in the talk around the table, discussing the best and worst parts of your day, the weather, and sharing stories. Make it more about the social vibe than the food.
Your child learns many things from you, including their eating habits. You can reinforce this by selecting a day nursery like Little Acorn Nursery that also values social meals. This helps children understand that mealtimes are a good time, not a time for fighting. To find out more about the products and services that we offer, then get in touch with our team today!