I was at a lecture about parenting. The speaker informs us that the most essential time to teach children about love and compassion is from birth until 2 years old. EEEEK. Despite knowing that other professionals rule differently, the trepidation begins as I wonder… did I do enough? what if I’m too late? But with any life-skill, even if the window is partially closed, it’s not shut. It may take a smidgen longer, but skills can still be learned, and learned well.
Never fear. Humans have this thing called ability to change. Here’s how:
1. First decide which food or meal issues you wish to address. ie. no more skipping dinner only to have a “starving” tummy right before bedtime, which, by the way, usually leads to a decreased appetite for breakfast, so there goes the snowball
2. Work on one issue at a time and write it down on the fridge ie. kids eat dinner at dinnertime, not right before bed
3. Make a plan of what will be changed (either on your own or contact me). ie. no copious amounts of snacks preceding dinnertime and reminders to kids that there is no food right before bed (aka so eat your dinner lassies)
4. Have a family meeting
- Let everyone in on the new plan: why the change and how the change, and any feedback (keep in mind that feedback is just that. Feedback. Not daddy changes his mind completely just because Jane and Michael don’t like the plan)
- Get a list. Which fruits, veggies, protein and complex carbs are the favourites, which are they willing to try, and which are unpopular. Serve items from each list everyday. Youngsters occasionally need to be confronted with dislikes; be it food, people, or activities. How else are they going to become resilient grownups who can adapt to change?
5. FOLLOW THROUGH. This might be the most essential ingredient of all. When your resolve wavers, read #2 and make a list of the benefits of this change and why you chose it in the first place
6. Give your kiddies lots of hugs and kisses