It’s no secret that health–and by extension, your kids’ health–tops the list of New Years Resolutions.

But vowing to feed your kids a healthier diet will probably lead to failure. Not because your intentions aren’t pure. But because changing how you (or your kids) eat, is really hard.

Besides, the deck is stacked against you. Even though 45% of Americans make a New Years Resolution, only 8% succeed. Check out more New Years Resolution statistics here.

One New Years Resolution that is easy to keep: Make Amends with Your Kids 

Apologize for your role in the strain and pain of your feeding/eating dynamic.

  • I’m not saying the struggles are your fault.
  • I am saying that making amends is a good way to push the reset button if you’re caught in a struggle with your kids.

I know, it feels wrong to apologize for trying to get your kids to eat a few more bites of broccoli. Or to consume just a tad more calcium. And I’m not suggesting that there’s anything wrong with your motives or goals.

Three things I know for sure:

  1. You have to change the way you interact with your children if you want to change how they eat.
  2. Amends start you on the path to change.
  3. You have to go first because, as the parent, you set the tone.

When you make amends you:

  1. Show respect
  2. Build trust
  3. Start a dialogue

You don’t have to fall on your figurative sword to make amends. A simple statement will do.

  • “Dinners haven’t been much fun lately. I’m sorry.”
  • “I know you don’t like it when I ask you to eat a few more bites of broccoli. I’m sorry.”
  • “Sometimes you get pretty angry with me when I say you can’t have anymore candy. I’m sorry.”

Next, promise change.

  • “We’re going to start doing things differently.”
  • “I think it would be better if we all had more fun at dinner. Don’t you?”

Then, discuss your goals:

  • “I want you to learn how to eat new foods.”
  • “It’s important that you eat a little of everything I serve at dinner—the peas and the chicken—even when you don’t feel like it.”
  • “Sometimes I say you can’t have any candy because you can only eat it once each day.”

Finally, ask for your child’s input (no matter the age):

  • “What do you think would make it easier for you?”
  • “Would you like to choose what we have for dinner once a week?”
  • “Let’s come up with a way for you to remember when you’ve had your treats.”

 Searching for specific strategies to…?

  • Reduce mealtime tension
  • Introduce new foods
  • Moderate sweets and treats

I discuss all of these ideas in It’s Not About the Broccoli.

I wish everyone a Happy and Healthy New Year. I’m looking forward to spending 2014 with you!

~Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits.~