If your child is like mine, dinner time is always a fight! He doesn’t want to try this vegetable or that meat. He doesn’t want cheese on it. There’s a grain of pepper on the egg. The hotdog is too brown. The mac ‘n cheese is too cheddar-y. The blueberries are too cold (“Can we microwave it?” he will ask). This has butter on it. This has salt on it. This doesn’t have salt on it.
To which I always reply, “Eat three more bites or…”
Cue the random whining.
Let me introduce an idea I stumbled upon on Real Simple. Using dice as a vegetable counter… to get your child to eat more…
The idea is that the child can roll the dice and take their chances. The number the dice shows is how many more bites they must take. This is genius.
And, so, I tried it. And it WORKED! Like, seriously, worked. My son was excited that he could roll the dice and have the chance of only having to eat one more bite. He rolled a three. And, to my amazement, he ate all three bites without complaining!
That is an accomplishment for me. I felt like the best, smartest, most pretty mommy in the whole world.
Repeated exposure and a fun, healthy atmosphere seems to do wonders. A child has to decide whether or not they are going to eat, but parents can decide what to put in front of them. Even if they don’t eat something the first, third, or seventh time, the eighth time might be the charm.
I have to constantly remind my son that his taste buds change all the time, and sometimes he’ll try something that he “doesn’t” like and find that it is actually tasty to him now. Consistency has worn down his stubbornness.
One last thing… always have fun! Make it an activity. Get them involved in helping. Chose fun colors, or make it a “theme” night. My son gets to pick out what we are eating one night a week, and he has to accept that the other nights are mommy’s choice. By eating what I chose, he gets the privilege of having whatever he wants every once and a while. A win/win.