"Dear Vonnie" Table Time

Each Saturday, I will do my best to answer any questions you may throw at me. I don't pretend to be an expert, but I know it's not easy being a wife and mother. It can be frustrating and discouraging, yet very rewarding. I'd be glad to listen to you , pray for you, and share some of my thoughts with you.

So, ask me something... anything... **Contact Me**

Dear Vonnie,

What is the best way to handle food battles with young kids at the table? Do you force them to eat what you serve? Do you make them have a couple bites then give them something else if they don't like it? Or something else?

Signed, Peas in my Hair

I'm seeing more and more children being picky and demanding about what they eat. The meal becomes a battle ground. (not just between siblings, but mostly with the mother) Children are not mature enough to know what is good for them and should not be making the decision of what they will eat.

Having a big family, I couldn't afford to cater to everyone's tastes. I would cook a wholesome meal, and each was expected to serve himself some of everything. It might be only 3 green beans, a small dollop of mashed potatoes, and a drumstick. But, they had to eat what they took. If someone whined, my hubby would give them a BIG spoonful of the offensive food, and they had to eat every bit of it. They only tried that once or twice!

Of course,I know that everyone has likes and dislikes. I would try to make the meals interesting and varying. If they ate some of everything without grumbling, but didn't really like it. I'd let them have a P&B sandwich or apple after the meal. They got to choose their favorite meal for their birthday. Also, at big holiday meals, such as Thanksgiving, they could choose what to eat or not to eat without any comments from me.

Throwing food or temper tantrums should not be allowed. I'd send them away from the table until the family was done eating. They can eat it later. Don't warm it up or keep them company at the table. If they still refuse to eat, it won't hurt them to miss a meal. They'll be all the hungrier by the next meal. This may sound harsh and even cruel, but a child needs to learn good manners and to be grateful for everything.

Food fights and whining at the table is more than rude behavior. It's also being disrespectful of the one who prepared it. They need to hear their father complimenting their mother for cooking a delicious meal. If they can help with the preparations, they will also realize the work involved. Be sure to thank them for the delicious meal and good manners, also.

(But...just for fun, let them have a popcorn fight or watermelon seed spitting contest, in a time and place that you allow...and join in the hilarity, so they know that you understand how to be silly sometimes too.)


Joanne Sher said...

Great advice, Vonnie. Thanks :)

The Surrendered Scribe said...

Great advice. I remember with the oldest following Dr. Dobson's advice, wrap it, put it back in fridge, they will eat it. One night it was 8pm, but he came back to that meal and finished. The youngest we had more trouble with because of thyroid, but boy can this test a parent!


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