You’re at a rural village and presented with donkey’s intestines. The villagers say they spent hours preparing this rare dish ESPECIALLY for you and that it is a very healthy food.
It is meal time, and everyone is starring at you, waiting for you to eat it. You look at the weird looking object in front of you and you already feel like vomiting. Everyone else finishes their dishes except you and are waiting for you to politely ‘clear your plate’.
I bet just thinking of this makes you feel anxious and pressured, and you would probably never want to go back to that village.
This is how it feels to be eating under a pressured environment. Repeat this a few times, and you’d probably hate meal time.
So here’s what you can do to create happy and positive meal times:
(gathered from what I’ve read and my personal experience)
I know this is easier said than done, but if you don’t relax, chances are that your kids won’t either.
- Don’t stare at your child and monitor what they put in their mouth
This creates unnecessary pressure for you and the child. Just enjoy your own meal and let your child eat what he or she will. Without all the attention, he/she might actually surprise you with what they’re willing to eat. When my parents gave me all the attention, I found I was more reluctant to try something new. The more it was reinforced, the more reluctant I was.
- Take the focus of discussion away from food.
We sometimes unconsciously focus discussions on food and what kids eat or don’t eat.This is completely NORMAL, so you’re not alone.
However, as I said in my previous blog post, this can create pressure, and it’s something we don’t want. So why not talk about something else, or even let your child lead the conversation and talk about something of their interest. When children are happy, they will be more open and accepting!
More tips to come! feel free to provide suggestions and comments 🙂