I’m not trying to pretend my children are perfect. Goodness me, that they aint. But for the most part they are good little eaters. We’ve definitely had our battles. Most were at the toddler stage when let’s face it, little ones are wired to refuse and make a fuss about ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING you’re trying to get them to do. Once my babies were eating regularly (like, past the very early cereal stage) I tried to stick to three simple but crucial rules.
I pass these on with love, care and peaceful dinner time wishes to you:
1. Eat at the same time and at the same dinner table with your children (as much as you possibly can)
It’s about modelling. Babies and wee ones learn most from what they see you do. And if they see you sitting at the dinner table eating and enjoying a meal (without fuss) so will they. I know you don’t want to be eating at 6pm but a shared family meal goes along way in removing the ‘big deal – you must eat this’ around dinner time. Yes, most nights 5 o’clock is arsenic hour and it’s all you can do to get though it in once piece. But trust me, it will improve! And as soon as you get into a bit more of a rhythm see if you can bring the family together to eat a few times a week.
2. DONT give up on foods that they ‘don’t like’. Reintroduce them again after a sensible break
You’ll see your baby screw their face up when they’re tasting something new and aren’t sure they like it. They might flatly refuse to eat what you’ve prepared but that doesn’t mean it’s off the menu forever. Try sneaking it in other ways or reintroduce it after a break. It’s soooo easy to get into the habit of preparing only the foods that you know they’ll eat but BEWARE that tricky trap!
3. Repeat after me… Hungry Children Eat.
This is the hardest one to enforce. Loving mums just want their bubs to eat healthy food and have a nice full tummy before they’re tucked up for the night. I certainly did! I did not want to be woken by a hungry baby. Husbands and partners are WAY better at enforcing this one. Mums who’ve spent ages preparing a delicious and nutritious dinner want it eaten come hell or high water. But as a general rule if they’re hungry, they’ll eat. Disclaimer: If your baby is sick or getting over an illness then the eating wheels fall off in a big way and these rules go out the window for a bit.
So, that’s it. Easy right?
Ok, not so easy some nights. But good luck and if all else fails pour yourself a lovely glass of wine. A big one.