Monday, September 27, 2010
The Great Food Battle
I have a four-year-old who literally whines ALL day that he's hungry. Every ten to fifteen minutes, he'll come to me, "Mom, I'm hungry!" Even if we just ate.
Then when I serve lunch, he requests a certain type of sandwich or chicken nuggets or a quesadilla. So I make it, mistakenly thinking that if he's asked for it, it's what he really wants, so he'll eat it. He takes about two bites and declares himself full and wants to get down from the table.
In today's modern theories of child-rearing, it is said to not use dessert as a bribe. But my children will certainly not get dessert if they don't touch their food at all. Sometimes I barter: "Take three more bites and you can have dessert." But that's tricky because then they start putting one pea on their spoon and calling it a bite.
I've also read that you should offer lots of choices. I have a hard enough time thinking of a main dish and a couple sides seven nights a week, so offering more than that is next to impossible. Plus, then, what if all they ever eat is the fruit? I always serve a fruit side (usually a mixed fruit salad), a vegetable, and the main dish, which is often something like spaghetti or beef stew.
My parents would sometimes make us sit there until we ate our food. I remember one particularly stubborn brother would sit there for hours, refusing to touch his food. Then they would cover his plate and put it in the fridge and he would have to eat it for breakfast the next morning. I'm not sure that worked.
So do you have any tricks that work? Because I'm getting desperate.