Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Let them decide

I feel really lucky that Girly is a good eater. I know that isn't the case for every child and it has made mealtime a relatively simple and peaceful process at our house. Especially now that she seems to be eating ALL the time (3 meals and 3 snacks!), I appreciate not having a battle.

Girly was really an exceptional eater as a baby - ate virtually any fruit or vegetable or grain I put in front of her. She is expressing her opinion much more now that she is a toddler, which is totally expected and age-appropriate. With that, though, needs to come some vigilance on my part to make sure mealtime remains happy.

Right after we started solids, my Parents as Teachers educator suggested a good resource, which I previously mentioned here. Ellyn Satter proposes the benefits of a division of responsibility when it comes to feeding: The parent is responsible for what, when, and where and the child is responsible for whether and how much. I was recently telling a friend about this website and it was a timely reminder for us, as well.

I can usually anticipate what Girly will eat for her meals and, while she LOVES fruit, she will generally eat some veggies as well. If she turns up her nose at something on her plate, I need to remember not to get her something else just to make her happy. If I prepared a reasonable meal and she doesn't want to eat it, that is OK, but she doesn't get something else. Back to that old, start as you mean to go. In the future, I refuse to be the parent that makes entirely different meals for the children than the adults. I will take a child's preference into account while planning a meal, but I do not want to have a household where everyone eats something different for dinner.

If you are facing some battles at your house, or if you want to read up a little more on the subject, here is another good blog that my friend sourced out: Family Feeding Dynamics.

Another habit (bad habit?) that I've encouraged is offering Girly a bite of whatever I am eating. I will give her a bite of anything she asks for because I don't want her to think there are certain foods that are off limits. I've been surprised at things she likes (tuna salad, lemons, pickles) and things she doesn't like (pasta or some sweets). The begging isn't so appealing, but when she asks so nicely ("moe kacka peas mommy"), how can I resist?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Molls...Love the post - I try very hard not to be a short order cook. Just tonight my kids shocked me by LOVING good ole salmon patties, jasmine rice and peas - a very bare bones, not fancy, pulled from the pantry dinner (that has been shot down a few times in the past) . Its all in the build up (ie "did you know this was mommy's favorite meal when I was your age", etc..)

Tonight reminds me why I don't cater to my kids' every meal request...they might just try something and like it!! In fact, Evan sure did cram an entire half of his salmon patty into his mouth at one time!