According to ‘Feeding Your Child for Lifelong Health’, I’ve been a fool.
Yes that right a fool. Not about what I feed my son, but how I feed him. I’m only 3 chapters in and I already feel like a flaming idiot. Every single tactic that I’ve tried to get Miles to eat at dinner time has been wrong according to Susan B. Roberts, Ph.D. and Melvin B. Heyman, M.D.. It’s as if they snuck into my dining room and planted a hidden camera to pick up all the ridiculous phrases that have come out of my mouth and the million annoyances that I’ve hurled at Miles to get him to eat what I want him to, at the speed which I think it should be eaten. Then they sat down and wrote a 300+ page book about what they saw and heard as a cautionary tale to parents everywhere of what not to do if you want your child to eat the food you’ve cooked.
I’m guessing that this book exists because there are many many parents out there that are going through the same daily eating dramas as my husband and I are. For us at least it’s only one meal a day that is a hassle. Dinner. When I’m tired from the day and just want it to be all over and for everyone to eat and enjoy what I’ve cooked. By the end of the meal, I’m so annoyed that I don’t even enjoy it because I’ve spent most of the time trying to coerce Miles to eat his meal. With him only usually voluntarily eating one of the things I’ve made, Kofi and I spend the better part of the meal thinking up schemes to trick him into eating everything on his plate. What was I thinking?!
Kofi (wanting to keep me from going postal) follows my lead and joins in the dinner time antics of choo choos, helicopters, airplanes and yes even an “if you eat this, dada will do a dance for you” to get the unwanted food down his throat. Seriously, this is what two intelligent adults have been reduced to.
So far what I’ve learned from this book is that you offer the options, if they are not taken, don’t sweat it. We enjoy our dinner, he eats what he needs from the meal without coercion from either of us and eventually if he sees that we are not setting up these negative food experiences for him, he will want to eat what his family is enjoying. Will it actually work, hmmm… well, let’s just say at this point I’m willing to find out. When he refuses a food, I’ll keep putting it on the table. Supposedly after he sees that it is a usual part of our food repertoire, he’ll work it into his. I’ve also learned that at this point in his development, the more I push a food the less likely he is to want it. The more I praise him for eating something, the less likely he is to want to continue eating it. So, the school of thought here is to not push or encourage when it comes to food and he will naturally find his way back to the foods he use to enjoy.
Like I said, I’m only about 3 chapters in so there’s a lot more information to digest. I’m so hoping that this book will help us all get out of our negative food pattern that has developed over the past few months. I’d love to hear from others what their experiences with keeping their children healthy and happy at meal time have been.
- The Family that Chows Together: Benefits of Family Meal Time (lifescript.com)
- Teach Your Kids to Make Healthy Food Choices (lifescript.com)