… is such a challenge! From the number of books on how to ease toddler woes on eating, it’s quite convincing that many parents struggle with establishing disciplined eating habits for their children. I’m no different.
Especially when the dinner is too healthy to be very much ‘tasty’, J would take a super long time to eat. On some days, the usual 30 minutes of eating would drag to 1 hour, and it would be so frustrating because the food would have gone cold and mostly untouched.
From telling nicely, to scolding, to threatening, and even caning, these are some of the methods that are prevalent in those meals. Yeah, we know these are not sustainable methods. At times, emotions get so overwhelming that dinner becomes so much of a chore. 😣
It seemed that the problem is similar with J at childcare as well, and the Aunty will feed him if he took too long to finish his food.
Alright, enough said… Something needed to be done. I desperately needed a brilliant idea. These are some of the workable tactics employed so far. So far so good, and hoping to add in more to the list.
✅ To find healthy and equally tasty recipes. I have a few recipes that are rotated once every few weeks, tried and tested ones that everyone enjoys and indulges in. Chicken macaroni, beef stew, all-in-one porridge… Can’t be preparing the same-o same-o daily, so need to definitely find and experiment on more recipes.
Status: Work in progress. Super conscious about it… 🙂
✅ To motivate J positively so that he doesn’t take too long for his food. I started to use ‘carrots’ at some meals. To balance out the blandness of some ingredients, I’d have one ‘carrot’ to encourage him to eat his rice and food. Baked fish fingers is one, so it’s not too oily and slightly healthier choice than one that is pan fried. Another is shrimp wonton in soup, the ready made ones from Fairprice. These are a catch for J and he (perhaps being Cantonese) simply loves it. Still, this ‘carrot’ contains some msg so I don’t use them often. I’d need to learn how to make them! Another would be egg (fried with sliced tomato, or just sunny side up) or anything egg-based like egg tofu. This works everytime, even when it’s hard-boiled egg and thrown into a stew.
Lastly, would be to promise a bowl of soup upon finishing all his rice. This has worked 100% of the time as he enjoys the soups most!
Status: Am trying not to use too many carrots that are processed (our family sweared off processed food for close to 2 years already! Yay.) In search for ‘naturally prepared carrots’ that can be made in larger quantities and then thawed to dish out whenever needed.
✅ This is quite a random and new idea that was used last night, and only once. It worked wonderfully! I wonder if it will last till we reap the benefits but we shall see. Basically I give J a spoonful of food and count slowly from 1 to 10. In 10 counts, he needed to finish his food for the next mouth of food. I’ll give encouragement as he progresses and from 10 counts, reduce it to 8 and finally 6.
Status: Probably won’t last too long but keeping fingers crossed for it to work well till he becomes more ‘automated’ in scooping for the next spoonful of food.
After a week of actively trying to get J to eat in 30 minutes, some days were more difficult than others. 50% of the time, we were on time. I consider that an improvement still. More needs to be done so that there would be less scoldings and dining becomes more enjoyable for everyone.