Would you like to transform chaotic meals into happy occasion where you sit and enjoy each other’s company and eat good food together?
If you are fed up of the stress and drama simply trying to eat together can cause, or your dreading special occasion meals and eating out with your kids. Here is a quick guide to enjoy meal times with your family.
Remember that you are the one in control here - you have all the skills you need to keep mealtimes enjoyable for everyone.
Resist saying negative things like "I've made a nice pie tonight, don’t ruin teatime by whining again." This will make them reactive.
Instead try things like "Come and sit by me, you can serve the potatoes. I like it when you help me.” This will make them more responsive to you.
FOCUS ON WHAT YOU WANT:
Children will do more of what they get attention for.
Unfortunately, this means that you can reward unwanted behaviour by reacting to their bad behaviour.
Shift your focus onto what you want, by looking for things that are going well -you will get more of what you want from your child.
BE A GOOD ROLE MODEL:
Children will watch and copy you, so giving your child a good example of how to behave is crucial to happy mealtimes.
If you are not sitting at the table showing the children how to behave, then you're likely giving out mixed messages that are confusing for your child.
Is your child following your example?
HAVE SET RULES:
It's very easy to make one rule for one meal and another rule for the next.
You need to make a few simple boundaries and be consistent and clear with how you expect your child to behave at every meal.
No iPhone at the table means every time...
It is tempting to use bribery at the table.
“If you eat your peas you can have some ice-cream.”
Bribing gives your child all the power and reward bad behaviour with lots of attention.
Avoid bribing by simply taking away the word IF and changing it to WHEN.
“When you eat your peas you can have some ice-cream.”
GET THEM ON BOARD:
Get your child on board to make mealtimes more fun by asking them to help in some way!
They can make some part of the meal, lay the table or help you in some way so they feel useful and have some responsibility.
Show them how fun and rewarding preparing food can be!
TRY NEW THINGS:
It can take around 15-20 attempts to create a new healthy habit.
This goes for trying new foods or activities in the kitchen with your child.
With this in mind, try to be encouraging and relaxed about trying new things with your child and they will be far more likely to enjoy new tastes and form good habits this way.
Meal times are a great way to come together at the end of the day and focus on each other and have a good chat.
Each meal time is a chance to connect with your child, be curious about their life and get to know them a little more.
Be mindful of the way you interact with your child. Take the time to see if they have anything they need to talk about or take interest in their hobbies and life and sit back and enjoy your meal time together :)
HAPPY MEAL TIMES TO YOU:)
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