This is the fifth installment in my series: The Step-by-Step, Blow-by-Blow Guide to Introducing New Foods that’s Guaranteed to Change How Your Kids Eat. If you are new to this series, start here.

The question I want you to consider today is whether your family has fun at meals.

Remember, you’re still on vacation and vacation usually means fun!

The research shows that fun meals reduces picky eating.

I’m not talking about making cute smiley faces with food. I am really just talking about whether or not you and your kids enjoy being at the table together.

Do your kids enjoy coming to the table?

Young kids can’t really a dinner conversation. That’s what we adults do to enjoy meals. But they can interact and play. Try being silly with your kids. Or tell jokes. Encourage your kids to play with their food…just a little.

Short story: When my daughter was little, my husband used to talk to the food on her fork:

  • Don’t worry, I know it’s safe in her mouth.
  • I wouldn’t put you in there if it weren’t going to be ok.
  • Here we go.

Then, he would change to being the food. As it’s being chewed…

  • owww, owww, owww, owww
  • hellllllppppppp

Our daughter thought it was hilarious. And it helped her eat. Which leads me to a final thought…

Many parents are afraid of helping their children eat once the kids are (technically) able to feed themselves.

This is a mistake. The concentration and motor skill coordination it takes to get food onto the fork and into the mouth is too much for some kids when they are tired at the end of the day. So parents, help your little ones out. Your kids will feel supported. There will be less fighting. And this opens up an opportunity for fun.

Next week we’ll start talking about Phase 2: Growing a Good Taster.

~Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits.~