Mum, Take it easy!
How many times we as parents are stressing upon what our children are eating or not ? Many a times some of us mothers tend to feel unhappy simply because our children did not eat what we provided them or as much as we thought they would. Do you constantly compare your child’s eating habits with those around you?
Mum A is usually flustered and sleep deprived as all she can think of is force-feeding her child with all the healthy meals that she could possibly muster with her two hands. They had meal schedules with one meal every half an hour from morning till the time they hit the bed which usually comprised of eggs, types of breads, meat, fruit purees, crackers, yogurt and the likes. She would try every technique of feeding her whining toddler who simply did not seem to enjoy things being poured down his throat. Sometimes she would show them videos on you-tube, tell stories and simply give no other options than to eat. ‘ I am so worried as my kid hardly eats anything, I don’t see this happening with other kids’ , was all she would say. He was fed everything but barely enjoyed eating anything .
Is this mother a bit like you or someone that you aspire to be. Food like anything else in life should be a happy experience for our children. As soon as it starts becoming a tussle between us and the kids its time to let go. Me for one would rather have a less-eating happy kid rather than an over-fed grumpy kid. Kids do not come with a label. As parents we learn about them with time. Our children’s eating habits could be more deep rooted than we would care to think. For a start every child as we know is different and each of them have their own likes and interests. Eating for the toddler should be a time for enjoyment and exploration. They should be given the opportunities to experiment and explore. As parents it will be a great chance for us to find out what our child loves so that we could build the menu around it and at the same time work upon the foods which our children should be eating as well.
Mothers don’t lose heart, their are surely so many ways that we could assist our children in eating healthy some of which are as follows:
- Eating should be a family experience– Children are great imitators of the adults. Not to forget they enjoy doing those things which is done in the company of their parents. It should be a warm and happy experience for them indeed. Sometimes it is seen children tend to eat more in a group and what better way than to do it than with the first group that the child will ever know- the family.
- Eat what you feed your kids- Hopefully as a parent we are not a hypocrite. Sometimes we are giving confusing messages to our kids. On the one hand we are usually binging on various kinds of junk (the sometimes food) and on the other hand we are busy imposing the healthy foods upon the little ones. How about eating a banana in their company at tea-time, they might follow suit.
- Make meals fun-Ever tried decorating the foods . Make them attractive , fun to look at , give them a chance to talk about it. Ever tried adding some spinach in their pan-fried crepes or putting carrot in their cakes. You get the idea?
- Do not force-feed. When you are force-feeding chances are you are going to nip the flower in the bud or simply put any chances of them ever loving that food again is going to be lost as they are probably going to develop a repulsion towards the certain food.
- Talk with your kids about their food– Ever tried having conversations with your kid about their food. It really helps. We could start educating them at a very early age. ‘Did you know milk is really good for your teeth and bones’, or “Did you know eating a carrot is really good for your eyes and skin?’. You have no idea what interesting things your little ones might have to say to these. Its fun to hear them !
- Involve your children in the food preparation- When they are involved in preparing what they are fed chances are our children will show more interest in eating them too. You could try asking them to chop up a pears or some tomatoes with a butter knife. They might enjoy baking that carrot cake too!
- Grow your own food products-If you can use some tiny hands at some home-gardening , their might be some food for thought for the tiny minds too. Later it might be them suggesting what we should be growing in our little garden patch, not to forget the anticipation!
- Are you feeding your children too much ‘tasty’?-Whether its meals or life we can not have fun all the time or something like that. If all you are doing is making delicious and elaborate meals for your children then its going to make things difficult for you.Teach your children to eat simple too. Sometimes the most simplest of foods which require less cooking can be nutritionally sufficient for our little ones.A cheese, egg or tuna sandwich with some fresh fruits and veggies should do the trick at times.
- Snack healthy-We are what we snack. Snack time should set the way for the meal and not create an obstacle. If it is too heavy chances are they will be too full. Also if its too full of sugar content or starch , they are likely to crave for foods which is similar. How about some healthy soup or nuts or cheese and crackers.
- Avoid distractions-Hopefully our children are not getting too much devices to feed from . Lets switch off the T.V or take the device away. Its family time, after all!
- Keep persisting– Finally some research shows that children need about 15 servings of any foods to develop an acceptance for that particular food. So all we should do is hang in there. Keep trying, mums! 🙂
Finally each of us as a mother are better equipped to understand our children’s eating habits than anyone else. Eating healthy and helping our kids do the same should be a journey and not a destination. As parents we must know that things cannot be perfect all the time no matter how much we want them to be. Their are times we have to let our guards down and be a little flexible too. We can expect them to enjoy their fill with the ‘sometimes food’ too as we do too at times. It can never get too bad when you are working the way you did with them. Everything comes around. As for my daughter she is learning too-
dd-Mom we need a glass of milk, quickly!
me-Do you want to drink?
dd-No, its for grandma, looks like she broke all her teeth. But my ‘teeths’ are not broken because I drink milk everyday! ” 😀