Do you recall hearing the phrase ‘finish your plate’ growing up and the consequences if you didn’t? It’s no wonder that sometimes it can feel triggering if kids don’t finish their meals.
We now have the benefit of access to research that our parents and grandparents didn’t have access to. We know that, even when said with love, pressure to eat doesn’t improve meal times or food consumption.
In fact, we know that pressure can eat can often result in the opposite effect - a child eating EVEN LESS.
Here are a few practical and realistic tools to pop into your meal time toolbox when you feel triggered by a barely-touched plate:
Pause and acknowledge that you feel triggered when you do. What you’re feeling is valid.
Reframe success! Success at meal times does not = a clean plate. Meal Time Success is so much more than a clean plate (in fact, a clean plate isn’t even discussed in my Meal Time Success picky eating course!).
Start by serving smaller portions to your child. This can have flow on benefits, such as a child feeling less overwhelmed and therefore more likely to eat. It will also reduce any frustration surrounding food waste. You can always offer more!
Try our 4 step meal time break! Outlined in detail in our brand new course, the last step of our meal time break is where you allow your child a break from eating, safely store food and return 15-30 mins later. This step is as beneficial for you as it is them.
Practice the Division Of Responsibility. Remind yourself that your job is to serve a variety of food at a predictable time and in an environment that suits your family. Your child’s job is to decide what to eat and HOW MUCH to eat (if at all).
If you are worried, seek support.
Just want stress-free meal times without bribes, pressure or trickery so that you can drop the worry and frustration? As a mum, I hear you! My brand new self-paced online picky eating course is out now. Learn more HERE.