5 Steps to Saving Meal Time and Keeping Your Cool

Nothing’s worse than feeling like you keep wasting time in the kitchen prepping meals that NOBODY EVEN EATS!! Like seriously, what’s the point?

Maybe it’s time to go all Hunger Games on your family… “may the odds ever be in your favour!!”

Okay, okay… letting your family fend for themselves for a day or two may seem like bliss but you need a long term plan, a few simple steps to help you get through those tough meals.

Here’s 5 simple steps you need to go through every single time your kid decides they are done eating FAR before you think they should be done.
#1. Bite your tongue. 

=> Literally bite it if you feel the momma-rage boiling to the top. Take a breath, fake a smile and move to step 2.

#2. With your forced smile, and loving doting eyes say something along the lines “oh, your tummy’s full?”

=> All it takes is a small distraction for little one’s to completely forget that they were hungry, even if they had meltdowns a few minutes before food was even on the table. Remind them that it’s meal time and that they need to sit with the family and make sure their tummy is full before they leave the table.

#3. Acknowledge and accept whatever answer you get (without showing signs of frustration, or annoyance)

=> This is a tough one, especially if the “I’m all done” comes after 2 bites of yogurt or 3 pieces of fruit snacks. It’s really important here to remember your role as the parent you provide the food and the structure for the meals, like when and how food is served. It’s your little one’s job to decide what to eat from what’s offered, and how much they are going to eat if anything at all.

#4. Remind them of when they get to eat again.

=> Sometimes just asking your little one if  their “tummy is full” is enough to snap them back into food mode. Other times just asking them to remain at the table while everyone finishes eating encourages them enough to take a few more bites if they are in fact still hungry. If all else fails and you grossly over-estimated how hungry your little one was, then it’s important to make sure they are fully aware that when they leave the table they won’t get a chance to eat again until the next meal or snack. Sounds harsh? Possibly, but remember it’s your job to keep the schedule of meals and their job to eat as much or as little as they need.
Another thing to think about is how you talk about time. Saying “supper is in 2 hours” means absolutely nothing to a 2 year old.

#5. Stick to the time you set in #4.

=> So challenging!! Especially if you’re used to more of an all-day smorgasbord where snack time is endless. It’s time to be firm! No food until supper time means no food until supper time. Once your LO knows you say what you mean and mean what you say they start anticipating meal times.

Using these 5 steps save the sanctity of meal time. By following them you acknowledge and respect your LO’s hunger and fullness, instead of question it. They leave the table feeling satisfied and loved, and you leave knowing you’re headed in the right direction at meals.

Now my question for you, which of these steps do you know will be the hardest for you to follow?

~ L

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