Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Toddler Dinnertime

Today I ran across an article that talked about mistakes parents make when trying to get their toddler to eat. Click here to read the article. As a result of reading the article, I decided to try something new tonight.

When it was time to prepare dinner, I put Grace on a chair in the kitchen so she could see and help as much as possible. Since we had leftovers tonight, the only thing we prepared fresh was our dinner salad. Mom got out the cutting board and the veggies from the fridge. We gave Grace her own little knife (not too sharp) and let her "cut" her veggies for her own little salad. She had so much fun! She prepared a salad of lettuce, carrots, apples, mozzarella, and feta cheese for herself. It made her so proud, and when it was time to eat, she took great pleasure in eating her salad.

One of the suggestions in the article was to not "make" her taste everything on her plate. Instead, we talked about how good the food was, and eventually she ate some of everything. I fell back into my old habit once and told her she had to eat her casserole before she got any ice cream....big mistake. She immediately stopped eating her casserole and started asking for ice cream. I learned not to mention dessert at all at the dinner table. When you offer a "reward" for eating something on her plate, it sends the subliminal message that what is on the plate is not "good."

Because the strategies worked so well tonight at dinner, I'm going to keep them up and involve Grace even more in my cooking. We definitely saw her more interested in her salad tonight because she prepared it herself.

There's one thing in the article that I didn't quite agree with. The author suggested that toddlers have unlimited access to healthy snacks. I believe in scheduled eating times, not unlimited grazing throughout the day.

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