For the past three weeks, I've been sharing some of my tips for raising good eaters. If you've missed any of those posts, you can find them here:
For this final part of the series, I want to just review a few main ideas and thoughts:
- Your child will not starve. I said it in the very first part of the series- as long as you're making healthy, balanced food available to your child, he or she will eat... eventually. It is far more important that your child is getting water than food, to be honest. Don't panic if she doesn't eat for a meal or two... or even more...
- It is NOT child abuse to not give in to your child's wishes. Some people seem to think that if their child is screaming and crying and acting like it's the end of the world then, well, it is. It is not. You are doing your child (and all future teachers and caregivers too, for that matter) a favor by sticking to your guns and making the decisions.
- You are the parent and you are (or should be) in charge. Like I just said- you need to make the decisions. It's your job. Quite frankly? It's a cop-out to serve up chicken nuggets every day. And you are better- and stronger- than that.
- Just because your child is not a good eater now doesn't mean he or she has to stay that way. Ready for a confession? I was a bad eater as a child. Picky, picky, picky. I outgrew it. I'm a fantastic eater and have been for years. There are two things going on here-- first of all, your child may simply outgrow the pickiness over time. Second of all, you can start changing those picky behaviors today... you do not have to keep making grilled cheese every single day.
- If your child eats well for other people, there is no reason that he or she can't eat well for you. Oh, how many times do I hear this one? "I just don't understand it! He ate EVERYTHING for the (baby sitter, teacher, aunt, *insert person other than you*)" It's not that I don't believe it... I do. But guess what? That means that if YOU stop giving him options, he'll eat it for you too.
- It does not matter what your neighbor/friend/sibling/etc. is serving their children. There are people out there who will try to make you feel like you're cruel for not letting your kids have Kid Cuisine or Kraft Easy Mac or pizza rolls or bagel bites all the time. My honest opinion is that most of them are kind of jealous of your steel-cut-oat-eating kid while they serve up Pop-Tarts every morning. I'm just sayin'. But, regardless of the reason, do not worry about what they're serving up or their opinion of what you're serving.
- Be confident and determined. The most important piece of advice I can give you is this... As you set out to raise good eaters, be confident about what you're doing. Whether you decide that you will re-serve a plate until it is finished or you will with-hold privileges until the veggies are consumed... feel good about what you're doing. Know that you are on an honorable mission and needn't feel like a bad person. When it's tough, carry on. The rewards are great.
Thanks so much for joining me on this journey toward raising good eaters! What questions do you have for me? Any specific issues you wish I would have addressed? I'd love to talk about it in the comments!
This post is linked to Works For Me Wednesday.