Meal Time Battles

If mealtimes are stressful in your household because of repeated power struggles over food, this is an area that’s really worth some effort to resolve.

Compliance battles do have to be waged from time to time, but it’s important to do everything in your power to make sure that eating doesn’t become one of them. Something as simple as allowing a reasonable time frame to finish drinking their milk can result in an end to the battle and helps your child save face while you get their calcium quota met!  My daughter has taken to eating her least favourite food item (most often that glass of milk!) first then enjoying the rest of her meal.  Another idea to try is coming up with some gimmic to make least favourite yet important food items more palitable or a little fun (e.g. flower shaped carrots, or a little drinking cocolate in that milk).

It’s also important that children learn to recognise and respond to their bodies’ signs of hunger, thirst, and fullness. As parents we can easily get caught up in subscribing to the old school rule of “clean your plate”. However, when they’re full, perhaps that’s what they mean…

If there is mileage to be won by children refusing certain foods or general fussiness, then the natural enjoyment of food can be lost. Prepare healthy, balanced, and tasty meals for your family, keep the mealtime atmosphere relaxed and positive, and encourage children to be adventurous with their eating. In a fuss-free environment, children will learn to make good choices in time.

For some kids problem eating is a phase, for others the hassles are ongoing and chronic. The number of children with feeding problems, food fussiness or food group avoidance who are seeing health professionals has doubled in the last two years. Apart from a dislike of certain foods and an aversion to trying new things, some children refuse to eat ‘lumpy’ or ‘slimy’ foods. Likewise, there is a little-known connection between poor appetite, fussy eating habits and constipation. So if your younger family members are reduced to a few foods for a prolonged period, consider talking with your GP and not just see it as a power struggle or non-compliance.

Credits: Some of this article came from the Parenting Place’s “Hot Tips”.