How to end the dinner time battle!
It's dinner time, but you already know that your child won’t eat the mashed carrots that you have carefully prepared. These situations can become very difficult to manage and the meal time can become a nightmare for both you and your child. You may feel guilty and unsettled in this situation. But rest assured, this is a very common situation and it will get better with a little patience and flexibility.
Here are some tips for getting back to nice and enjoyable meals.
Always stay calm and neutral in this situation, without raising the voice at the child. If the child refuses to eat occasionally, there is no need to panic. Instead of getting upset, always eat with the child and be an enthusiastic role model. If the child sees you eating the food with pleasure, he's more likely to imitate you. Most importantly, parents must be supportive of each other in front of their child. It's very important that the parents are on the same page and working as a team. Discuss how you will handle the foreseen situation before you sit down at the dinner table.
Encourage the child
Encourage and complement the child when he agrees to taste a new food, even if he did not like it. When regularly seeing the same food on the dish or on the dinner time table, the food will become familiar and soon maybe one of the favorites. It can take up to ten times for children and adults to like new tastes in food. So never give up after one try.
Some foods such as green vegetables have a more distinctive taste and are sometimes difficult for children to eat. Mixing green vegetables with other sweeter vegetables like carrots, can be a good way to get them to try and ultimately get familiar with the taste. There are many ideas and recipes to be found on the internet.
Try not to use blackmail at dinner time
It can be tempting, but never use blackmail with food; "If you don’t eat vegetables, you won’t have dessert." Blackmail reinforces the rejection of the food and attraction for the sweet-reward. Never try to feed the child by promising a reward or by threatening a punishment. This can be very difficult, but is better for the long run. Dinner time can be very tiring for parents, but don't give up.
Eat at the table
Use dinner time for family time. Turn off all screens (TV, phone, tablet) or leave them far away from the dinner table. Screens don't only interfere with family discussions, they also catch children's attention. Establish a regular schedule for dinner time, it is less likely to affect the child's appetite. Children usually love routine. It makes them feel good and secure.