Every parent we have ever met wants to have a smart child and be a smart parent. Raising a child is the most important responsibility anyone will ever have and can provide the most pleasure and reward.
SMART PARENT/SMART CHILD is the revolutionary philosophy that all children are incredibly intelligent from the moment they are born. When parents have learned understanding, respect, highly developed communication and relationship skills and development related expertise, it is amazing what a child can accomplish and, in fact, each child will achieve his maximum potential.
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Nutrition and Quality Family Time
The key to heath, happy eaters is a well-planned "family together" meal approach. Food time is a social experience.
Are you sitting down with your children at mealtime?
Are there firm rules in your home regarding NO TV, NO Telephone, NO I Pad or I Phone, etc. at mealtime?
Mealtimes are an opportunity to educate your child about nutrition, well balances meals and, also, to discuss general topics addressing subjects that are important to everyone.
If you are discussing school, talk about what they enjoy and what they may need support with.
This is not the time to discuss any occurrences during the day that require discipline or reprimand.
They need to have a positive experience with food.
They should be given specific directives about table manners.
No games or playing of any kind at the table.
Most families are able to be together for breakfast and dinner.
- For most families, breakfast has some time constraints.
- The children must be dressed for the day as soon as possible after they wake up.
- No entertainment (non-school days) or food until dressed.
- If the parents are both leaving the home at the same time as the children, it is worth getting up at a time that allows them to be able to sit down with the children. The ages of the children can influence this meal.
- Provide food choices that do not require a lot of preparation - keep it easy, simple and nutritious.
- Non work days can be more involved in terms of preparation.
If this is a new routine to have "family dinners", discuss it with everyone before beginning.
Do not be discouraged if all does not go well every day. Work through the issue that was unsuccessful!
It is astonishing how few families really enjoy a family dinner.
1. They sit in front of the TV and have absolutely no conversation together.
2. A parent stops to pick up "take-out" food on the way home and the children eat in the car.
3. The parents are exhausted and stressed form their work day so the children are fed first and the parents eat later after they put them to bed. It is probably a different menu.
1. Vegetables are served first. Ideally, there would be two included in the meal. These need to be eaten before there is anything else placed on the plate.
2. Protein comes next. Again, it is eaten before anything else is served.
3. Pasta, rice, potato come next.
4. Fruit next and then bread if desired.
When you introduce this approach, you may have to do some coaching. Remind them how delicious the vegetables are. Start out with ones they really like ( if possible) and then add variety.
But be firm. This is the approach we use for meal servings at our daycare and all the children have an amazing lunch every day.
If they refuse to eat (it is usually the vegetables at the beginning), they can remain at the table if there is no one else to watch them while you finish the meal but they should not be given anything else on their plate unless they eat the vegetables. (don't worry, it is ok to miss a meal).
At the beginning, this can interfere with your plan for a "family together" meal but trust that it will not last long.
Be calm and firm but do not give them alternate food or snacks. They will get the message in a few meals.
You can either serve yourself the full meal so they will see what else is available or you can follow this approach. This second option may get the message across more quickly.
Do not give snacks later in the evening because they are saying "I'm hungry" and you feel badly that a meal was missed.
Two things will probably happen. They will have a huge breakfast and they will not hold out on eating the vegetables for more than two or three days.
See this as just a small obstacle in creating a lifelong, positive and healthy eating pattern!