Tag Archives: Preschool

Stop the mealtime get-ups!

Why it has taken me so long to figure this out, I HAVE NO IDEA.  We have a lot of kids, which means there are many requests and many voices at the dinner table. In fact, sometimes I’m so sound sensory overloaded at the end of the day I have to turn off the background music.

I generally love family style serving but things have to run differently when I’m solo.  Even with helper hands, it just takes too many trips to the table to bring each serving dish, plates & utensils, and drinks for everyone.  Inevitably, just as I sit down to join the family and take my first bite, I hear “Mama, I don’t have a drink. Can I have some water please”….. this is a cascade and the others come up with their own requests. Let’s just put a disclaimer out there:  I am an OT and I preach independence.  My kids are pretty independent and very capable of getting their own water.  There are also frequent spills. I know spilling is part of the learning process but realistically, when I’m outnumbered 4:1 and I know I have to get them all to bed on my own, I JUST CAN’T HANDLE A PREVENTABLE SPILL.  I haven’t even mentioned fitting in home reading, piano practice, nor finding the elusive overdue library book, signing agendas, and filling out forms that they forgot to give me 3 days prior and now they are due tomorrow.

SO, I’ve started leaving a pitcher of water on the table, along with glasses next to it.  And it’s worked! My apologies if this is common knowledge – I’m just a little slow to the party.

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New plan for solo dinners:

  1. Plate kid dishes in the kitchen and each kid brings their own plate to the table.
  2. Permanent water pitcher on the table with glasses next to it.
  3. Little vase with a bunch of forks permanently at the table.

Already, this has prevented at least 3 get-ups for me during dinner.  Refills are right there and the kids can do it themselves with less likelihood of spills.   Win-win-win!

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When your kid says “Yuck” and won’t eat anything. Picky Eating Part I

I am often told, “my child used to be such a good eater and now she wants to eat the same foods every day.” It is frustrating and stressful to hear your child request the same food day after day.  You dread mealtime rather than viewing it as an enjoyable time of reconnection.  (Who am I kidding, even with “good” eaters, mealtimes with young kids are rarely relaxing.) When your child has a small repertoire of foods,  you worry that she will not get the proper nutrition to grow and learn.   Our worth as parents sometimes feels like it is defined by a “good meal.”

Strategies for dealing with picky eating:

1. Think about changing things up at mealtime.

2.  Add books about food into your library!!!

The picky eater stage is in full force in the toddler and preschool years…along with many other challenges! Luckily, it’s also the stage where language and some early reasoning skills are developing.   Use your child’s new skills to your advantage and do some teaching about foods away from the table.  When the expectation to eat is absent, everyone is less stressed.  Kids have the ability to learn more about the how the body works and why we need to eat.

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You can also check out these colouring pages for the closer to 4 – 5 year old crowd.

Talk about the importance of a well balanced diet from a nutrition standpoint.  Of course, do so in a developmentally appropriate manner.  A 2.5 year old with 80 words may not benefit from information about minerals and nutrients.  She will understand that food can make her strong though!

I recognized the power of this strategy the other morning at my house.  My girls saw a picture of a bowl of peas and thus asked for peas for breakfast.   This has never happened before.  Luckily, I had a bag of peas in the freezer…. they each had 2 little bowls of peas for breakfast.   The power of visual input combined with throwing out the traditional food choices for breakfast!  A success…

Try it out… talk about the importance of food away from the table and see what happens.

 

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