This is the second 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.
In this post we’re talking about the first phase in Introducing New Foods: Team Building. There are two steps:
We’ll get to the reset soon. For now, though I want you to relax. Take a breather. Let some of the tension subside.
Stop trying to “get” your children to eat anything new for one week. In other words, take a vacation from new foods.
Everyone needs a vacation. Including your kids.
If you are stressed around food, then your children are probably also stressed around food.
Your kids aren’t stressed because you’re stressed. Your kids are stressed because they are people who are participating in the family dynamic, and that dynamic is making you both stressed.
- If you’re angry, your kids are also probably angry.
- If you’re tense, then your kids are also probably tense.
- If you’d like things to change, your kids would also probably like things to change. They just can’t articulate it.
Before you can change how your kids eat, you have to change the emotional environment around food.
Plan meals and snacks that are guaranteed to be eaten. And if nothing is guaranteed to be eaten in your house, then at least cater to your kids the best you can. Tap into your inner permissive parent. Do this for about one week.
If you’re like most parents, this advice sounds both pleasing (“Yay…no fighting for a week!”) and defeating (“Are we really back to square one?”). Hang in there.
This does NOT mean you should provide a nonstop, steady supply of junk.
Stick to a structure for when meals and snacks are offered. No non-stop grazing.
This does NOT mean you should become a short-order chef. (Unless you already are one.)
Put food on the table that your children can be expected to eat. If these foods get rejected, don’t jump up to get another item. You’ve already prepared the preferred foods. Now let your children decide if they want to eat.
- “Chicken nuggets? Yuk.”
- “Well, you normally like chicken nuggets. That’s why I prepared them. You don’t have to eat them if you don’t want. There will be a snack later today if you’re hungry.”
If this produces a meltdown, you have a behavioral problem on your hands not a food problem. Solve it the way you would solve any behavioral problem.
In the next post, I’ll start talking about the reset. In the meantime, if you have questions about this step, ask.
~Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits.~