Must try tips to overcome mealtime tantrums
“Just eat it.” “ I don’t like it.” ”Just try it, it’s good”.” I don’t like vegetables”. “You have to eat it” . Tantrums, Frustrations and the story repeats at every meal.
Feeding children appropriately and efficiently is one of the biggest challenges the majority of parents face at some point or the other. Child’s health is a parent’s primary focus especially in the early years. There is no compromise when it comes to inculcating healthy eating habits. But implementing this can get really frustrating for some parents especially if the child is a fussy eater. A little discipline oriented approach always does more good than harm.
While every child is different and so is the parent, let’s look at some of the good feeding practices that can help you and your child make feeding a happy and interesting experience.
Follow Fixed Time
You need to have discipline when it comes to “when do I feed my child”. Our body expects some respect in terms of routine. Fix your child’s meal time. Try not to alter your child’s meal routine. When children are fed at regular and fixed intervals consistently as a routine, their body tends to feel hungry and demand food at that particular time. Avoid giving the child too many intermediate munching foods.
Children follow parents very closely on a day to day basis in almost every aspect. A child’s food choices also tend to follow their parent’s eating choices. Parents should be conscious and aware of their eating habits and set good examples for their children. Eating healthy and variety should be part of the family dynamics. One way to achieve this is eating meals as a family on the same table. It not only develops good bonding but also inculcates good table manners in children.
Balance & Creativity
Good looking food always attracts more attention. Taste comes next. Get creative. Well presented and a combination of different types of food helps build enthusiasm to eat.. Adding colors, shapes and texture to food not only makes the food exciting but also helps the child explore food better. While it requires efforts, moms, we bet, it really works and this can definitely be a great stress buster for you too. Ensure the creativity is nutrition centric and balanced.
Parents equate food to love. Alert!!! Making food a form of reward can harm in the long run. It can lead to obesity and other health risks. Force feeding children can lead to overeating. Remember, a child’s body needs are different from an adult. Giving your child 4 good meals or 5-6 small meals in a day should be enough. Ensure the portion size is moderate and should not overwhelm the child. Spreading the nutrition across meals is better than stuffing food in fewer. This helps to keep the digestion at ease and boost energy levels for the entire day. A hungry child will always eat well and refuse to eat more once full.
Junk vs Healthy
It is important to keep a check on the consumption of sweets and junk food. After all sweets are not really sweet in the long term. Natural sweets like fruits are always a winner over artificial and processed sweets. Try to strike the right balance between junk food and healthy food too. Serving junk food in a smaller plate and healthy food in a bigger plate is a great trick.
Distraction free meals
Passive eating becomes a habit in children if they are fed with distractions like screens. Children not only tend to overeat but also lack the ability to pay attention to taste and texture of the food. Allowing the child to explore food and eventually getting them into the habit of self eating always work best in the long term. Patience and Perseverance is the key to achieve this.
Variety vs Alternative
A frequent mistake that parents often make is to offer an alternative choice of food if the child refuses to eat what has been given. It is good to offer 3-4 varieties of food on a plate but not a good rule to replace the entire plate with an alternative choice. This can soon turn into a habit that may backfire in adulthood. Introducing variety gives their taste buds an array of exposure leading to good eating habits.
Parents, remember! Implementing and inculcating good and healthy eating habits in early childhood is an investment which will give your child healthy returns in their growing years and adulthood. Good food and nutrition in childhood is a great strategy and gains for the same are remarkable in future. Take your first step towards these gains today! 🙂
About the Author: HeyCloudy, The StoryLearning App is a screen-free Audio stories app for children between 2-8 years. HeyCloudy actively advocates “Parenting Through Stories” and helps new parents to prepare their child to be a happy and productive adult.