(For struggling parents of 6 – 8 year olds)
Dear concerned mommies and daddies,
Yes, we at Nutritionwithvibha.com know that you fret about whether your child is receiving enough nourishment. As concerned parents, you are doing your best to get them to eat right, yet you know you are not fully successful.
So we have put together 5 things you can start right away and see results – some instant and some that will come your way.
We call it the Six Magic Tricks – remember you’ll can be magicians!
1. Maintain borders of what is allowed
Every magician has borders where the audience is allowed to see but not allowed to go.
So do we, dear parents!
Keep clear rules, vocalized many times till it is embedded into your child’s psyche that it cannot be any other way.
Clear rules of how things will be, what is allowed on the plate and what is not, how often it is allowed and how often not.
Magicians cannot give into impulse – everything is planned and then orchestrated, and the audience does not have a clue.
Similarly, plan the kitchen Stick, plan the menu, plan the pre preparation.
The child should realize that impulse eating and impulse buying is really really rare.
When the rules are clear, the child will toe the line.
And dear parents… Have you ever seen the magician screaming at the audience…no…the magician is playful and excited and friendly and calm.
That’s how we have to be too. No screaming and shouting and punishing, just let the child be if he does not eat a meal, calmly take his plate away and tell him he can eat when he is hungry. Let him run his temper tantrum, don’t give in to guilt or anger. Talk in a calm friendly manner with a smile. No drama from you. Remember, you are a magician not a circus.
So abracadabra – Let the rules and borders be known
2. Give in to their tastes in a scheduled by way
Sometimes a clever magician will allow himself to be caught in a magic trick. This is to make the audience feel a little powerful and good about themselves till the next magic trick.
In the same way, allow some foods that the child wants. Talk and discuss with the child, again in a friendly way that these are the way things are going to be, but hey…things are going to go your way too.
Ask what the child wants and agree to it with excitement but then you moderate the portion and the time and the frequency. Say – Wow that’s great…let’s do the pizza for Sunday dinner…and you offer only that much as he should eat. You have decided the time and the amount. Magicians also unveil a bit of the next trick to the audience. So, you can say that the next treat will be after 10 days, let’s see when that is and what you would like. It leaves the child looking forward to it and more likely to eat better the other days.
Yes…tell the child the next trick.
So, Skadoosh – allow them treats in a controlled manner
3. Be smart with alternatives
This is the closest to the magician’s sleight of hand.
You see one thing, but something else is happening.
We have seen completely wrong alternatives offered.
The child may be asked – Would you like a Paratha or a waffle. Any guesses what the child will take…of course the sweet waffle!
Choices offered should be equal – would you like cauliflower or peas vegetable or what would you like to eat – there is papaya, grapes and banana at home.
Choices should be from the same food group and from the good nourishing foods we want them to eat.
Choices that we don’t want them to eat should not be offered at all.
So, Shimbaree, Shimbarah, Shimbaree, Shimbarah – Be a smart magician and offer smart choices.
4. Involve the child in decision making and lead them
Have you not noticed some magicians – they get the audience involved in the act or to help or to distract.
Yes, dear magician mommies and daddies, let’s do that too.
Take the children grocery shopping, let them pick out vegetables and fruits, involve them in planning the menu and in pre preparation and in some safe aspects of cooking. The more familiar they are to foods the better will they accept it. Children feel a sense of ownership when they are involved and thus will accept most foods readily.
So, Open Seeme – get the kids to your magic stage and let them assist your trick
5. Let hunger help you
Have you noticed how magicians keep their audience hungry for more…till the point we can’t wait any more.
Well, dear parents let’s use this strategy. Let there be no impulse unscheduled eating, random intake of heavy snacks before main meals or drinking beverages or water just before meals. The child’s stomach is smaller in size and post an intake of snacks or beverages they will not be hungry for the next meal.
Let there be a 2 – 2 1/2 hour gap between meals.
Let them feel hunger, the contraction of the stomach and then watch how they devour the food.
Let them play enough and be physically active, that stimulates appetite too.
How nice is that…the child asking for food and eating well.
Remember not to keep them hungry for long because then the crankiness could set in.
So, By the Power of Grayskull, I HAVE THE POWER – what you will say when you use the hunger magic trick.
6. Role model your way to get the child to eat right
Well magicians on stage don’t use this one, but it’s a must for us magician parents.
For a child, parents are stars in all ways – in all you say and a you do.
Children follow what parents do than what they say. Have you ever taught your child how to use the phone?. No, they see us and copy us and figure it out on their own.
That is both a boon and a bane because they may copy what you don’t want them to.
So let’s use this trick smartly dear parents. Let’s do what we want them to do and that is what they will learn. Let them see you eat mindfully, let them see you choose nourishment, let them see you express restraint, let them see you happily involved in cooking and appreciating food with love and gratitude.
Watch how they follow you into eating right.
So, Playhouse Meeska, Mooska, Mickey Mouse – Role model health behaviors
Remember some guidelines though dear parents…
No distractions with screen or toys during mealtimes
No parental drama and anger
Only smiles and excitement
Firm and loving and enthusiastic, and happy magician parents who express gratitude and love and appreciation for the food.
The kitchen, the table and food all are sacred and so to be revered and chosen wisely – this is the message that we need to give every meal, every day.
Magic tricks are instant, but the magician has practiced numerous times.
This too needs practice to perfect, but after you dear parents have learnt the tricks you will have your child eating out of your hands! Only figuratively, never literally after three years of age.
Dear Parents, We at Nutritionwithvibha.com believe in mindsets and behaviors both creating and disrupting health.
We need to use some psychology, some understanding, some patience and some magic of course to create sustainable changes in health behaviors.
And we are here to help you with it.
Look out for our self help book for parents to ensure your child eats well soon – tips and tricks and guidelines and recipes!
Write in to us with your queries to [email protected].
Till then…Keep being the Magician!!