18 Jul Guest Blog: Keeping Multiple Children Happy at the Dinner Table
I have three children and one wants nothing but meat, the other won’t eat anything that hasn’t been on a television commercial, and the last only likes certain colors of food. What is a mom to do? Well, here are some strategies to keep in mind that may work for your family:
- Unhappy – First of all, you should understand that you will not be able to make all the kids happy at once. Don’t get upset about it. Children need to learn to eat a balanced meal, even if they do not get served their favorite meal every day. If you try to cater to their whims, you will end up with spoiled children that are even more dissatisfied and now probably unhealthy too. A good thing to do might be to have a little bit of something that everyone enjoys.
- Set standards – In order to make sure your kids eat balanced meals, you have to set standards from the get go. Something like: at least one serving of fruit and veggies for every serving of carbs and meat. That doesn’t mean they can’t leave the table until they finish their peas, but it does mean they won’t get dessert if they don’t eat at least two food groups before that. Eating balanced meals means different things to different people, so you can change it around to fit with your family.
- Be flexible –If every one of your kids hates peas, then don’t serve them peas! Don’t get it stuck in your head that they have to consume specific foods. Just make sure they have a balanced diet, even if it sounds gross to you. You may not think a chicken, kiwi, and spinach tortilla roll sounds good, but nutritionally it is not bad, so quit fighting it.
- Take turns – If your kids do have a favorite meal, then serve it to them. Just make sure to take turns so that everyone gets an equal number of favorites. And don’t let your kids slack off on the standards, either. Even if Mac and Cheese is their wow meal, make sure they have a serving of veggies alongside it.
- Be sneaky –You can add fruits, veggies, and whole grains into your meals without your kids throwing a fit if you are sneaky about it. Cut the veggies very small and mix in with pasta, serve whole grain bread with your sandwiches, and add smashed banana and apple sauce to your cupcake recipe. Eventually they will get used to the tastes and even grow to prefer it, which is what you want. However, if this is not your style, then just include the veggies and your children will get used to having them present, making it more likely that they’ll eat them.
Having more than one child means striking a balance. You want to be fair to everyone, but you don’t want to sacrifice nutrition. Give your kids a taste of the world of sharing and taking turns, and make sure you are more concerned about their health then their preferences. Every family is different, so make your own dinner-time rules to make sure your children grow up healthy and nutritionally well-balanced.
About Guest Blogger Monta Fleming:
Monta is the mother of three children serves as an Expert Advisor on multiple household help issues to many Organizations and groups, and is a mentor for other “Mom-preneurs” seeking guidance. She is a regular contributor of “nanny jobs”. You can get in touch with her at firstname.lastname@example.org.