So often we are focused on doing things that will make mealtimes more fun! We cut food into fun shapes, buy boxes with their favorite characters on it, turn it into a game, make fun designs out of food, etc. That’s a lot of effort to do for every meal or even to do every day.
If you are anything like me, it’s just too hard to put all that effort in on the daily. I save that stuff for when I have the time and energy to enjoy the process myself.
We can still have a fun meal without doing all that ‘extra’ stuff though! In fact, I find the easiest way to have a fun and enjoyable meal is just by avoiding any issues!
Today I’m going to give you some tips to avoid issues so you can just, be together, and enjoy being together, in peace, without the issues!
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🚨 Don’t Wipe Their Face At the Table
Save all wiping to happen away from the table! Kids notoriously HATE getting their face wiped! We don’t want the last thing they remember about sitting down at the table to be a negative emotion attached to it! We are working hard to reprogram them to be happy at mealtimes, so any negatives, including face wiping, should go! Instead, just take them to the sink and do it there! At least until they are old enough to wipe their own face!
🚨 Don’t Have Them Take The Last Bite!
It’s really just us parents who want to see that empty plate, but think about it, does it really matter if the plate is licked clean? That’s more of a mentality that we shouldn’t be wasteful, which goes back to OUR past programming. When we push people to go past their own hunger cues, we are teaching them to ignore their body’s signals, which can lead to overeating later in life.
🚨 Don’t Congratulate Them On Eating Their Food or Finishing A Meal
It’s so tempting when WE get excited that they ate something to say “Great job! You did such a good job eating your dinner!” While it’s hard to resist, it’s best to leave that comment for after they leave the table! Why? Because kids then will associate the action of eating food with worthiness and as a way to get praise from their family. While really, we love them no matter what! It’s easy to get worthiness as a person tied into doing something we get praised for, and for kids who struggle with food, they may feel pressure to take bites and finish and try foods they really aren’t mentally prepared to– just to get that love and attention from you. Instead, try to praise for doing a good job helping with meal prep, or cleaning up after themselves, or even better just tell them you love them no matter what no matter what happened at the dinner table!
These things really arise more from mindset shifts that we as parents have to make to make mealtimes successful. If you struggle with mindset, check out my book, Mealtime Mindset —–> Available now on Amazon!
You can also watch the video version of my podcast below.