This post is part of Stress-Less Parenting Club's first workshop. Check out previous challenges here, and if you haven’t signed up yet, visit the purple box on the right side of this page to receive our weekly newsletter.
This week we've been focusing on kids and food -- and the battles that so often come with the territory. Our workshop leader, best-selling author Pamela Druckerman, offered us three keys to improving kids' eating habits from her new book, Bébé Day By Day. To put her advice into practice, this week's challenge is to go grocery shopping with your kids, let them pick out the vegetable they want to try, then cook and eat it together.
However, many of us are fighting unique battles when it comes to getting our kids to eat better. Pamela answered your more specific questions about kids and food when she stopped by the HuffPost offices.
Q: With food, as with many parenting issues, I wish I'd done things differently from the start but since I didn't, are there tips and tricks for making some of these changes when your kids are a bit older and already set in their ways?
PD: How do you change the rules midway? ... Just for starters, there’s one dinner, and this is what we’re having for dinner. [You need to] believe that you have the authority to do that and the conviction that your kids are not gonna starve. They are going to eat. Be comfortable with them being a little bit hungry, and don't get panicky about that. The French approach is not at all rocket science: make sure your child eats when they are hungry, and make sure the first thing he sees is a vegetable when he’s really hungry. I would use the ["just taste it" approach] really gradually; I wouldn’t sit him down in front of 10 new foods. I would have the starter be something that he’s not familiar with.
Q: You say there's only one snack a day in France. How can I deal with out of control snacking?
PD: The French have something that’s called the gouter, the afternoon snack. It's really festive, often with some chocolate. It’s at four, fourish, and it’s going to be something nice, that’s a treat. [If your child is asking for a snack at another time], maybe replace the snack with another form of comfort, like a stuffed animal or a conversation, a reassurance. ... It’s about really believing that you know best in these situations, you can listen to her and say, “I completely understand you want a snack, but we’re eating in an hour and half, and you had breakfast, and we’ll eat at lunchtime." And then meals become more substantial and more of an event, and she’s more motivated to sit down, and everything falls more into place.
YOUR TIPS AND EXPERIENCES
On Facebook, Twitter, and in the comments section, you offered great advice on getting kids to eat their veggies. Here are some tips we'll be trying out!