MY TODDLER AND FOOD WAHALA.

It is ever so easy to see some kids act out and declare, “oh no, my kids will never do that”. Just like we think that it is greener elsewhere, we also think that we can do better than others atimes.

Many things are beginning to humble me in the short years that I have lived (I have got many more years to leave my mark on this side of the world) and one agency of this reawakening are my kids.

I want to believe that I am learning my ways with kids but these little darlings of mine always manage to find a way to keep me on my feet.

I won’t say I am a fantastic chef but I do my best in that department . So many times, I come away with clean plates but a few times, the remnants on the plate tell me a different thing. I tell myself that  doesn’t mean mummy’s food  wasn’t good. Maybe ,they weren’t hungry at that time. Lately, my three year old leaves enough food on his plate (that is if he ever touches it) that I wonder if I am losing my culinary touch. Meal time has become punishment for him and also for whoever will stand by to make him eat. He will be the first to yell, ” I want to eat rice” only to turn around and give excuses as to why it won’t be rice anymore. His excuse ranges from “it is hot or it is too small(as if he was ready to eat a mountain) to I don’t like rice again or I want golden morn”. Needless to tell you how frustrating that can be.

Recently, eating time has become a fighting and crying scene, or a touch down time. He makes it a game time where he runs to me to spoonfeed him and runs back to his imaginary post. “Oh, how my heart skips when he is running up and down with food in his mouth but I allow him because I want him to eat. Sometimes, when he feels I have done enough of spoon feeding, he takes the plate from me and goes to join his siblings to eat. Just when I thought I was beginning to relax and let the kids grow independently, this cute baby of mine says, ” no mummy, your work just started”. 

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Sometimes, I wonder if his recent fallout with food is because of the many juice/sugary drinks available for kids. He wants more of the drinks than food but those drinks aren’t the best of all.(how will he know if I don’t teach him).  Parents will always do anything within their power to get kids to eat a balanced diet and sometimes, we make promises, give them choices that make them think they can rule the kitchen. 

Joy Bauer in her article on Mistakes Parents Make When Feeding their Kids, wrote that  “multiple studies have shown that, in the long run, preference for foods decreases when kids are given reward for eating them”. This got me thinking about those times that I have said, “oya eat now, I will give you …. later”. As easy as it may sound, I make a bad precedence with that.  Joy Bauer went further to say that, “in order to help our kids to have a healthy relationship with food(deserts included), we have to meet somewhere in the middle. Studies out of Penn State University have found that when kids are restricted from eating cookies or other snack foods,their desire to eat the snacks increases, and they are likely to over eat them every chance they get.

Toddlers are great manipulators. They are good at picking up on your anxiety especially when it comes to food matters. They are also good at recognising their own hunger and fullness signals and short of illness, will never voluntarily starve themselves. I found out some great tips on how to make meal times acceptable to our toodlers from the Better Health Channel website .

*  Accept their behaviour knowing that they are still learning their motor skills and be calm.
*  Discuss the plan of action with your  partner and other carers for a consistent approach.
*  Be a good role model.
*  Establish predictable meal time routine to help children realise they are required sit at the table for meals.
*  Turn off the television.
*  Don’t fight over issues.
*  Be consistent.
*  Compliment children when they keep table manners.
*  In all you do, be realistic.

Now, I know these things, I pray for strength (yea, I need all the strength) to win this food battle while it rages because this too shall pass.

REFERENCES:
Joy Bauer.com
Better Health Channel.

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