Parents often worry because they think their young children don’t eat enough. Some children seem to be naturally finicky. But others simply may be overwhelmed by the amount of food placed on their plates so they don’t know where or how to begin eating.
How much food is enough? And how we can we get our children to participate more successfully in meal times?
Positions tell us that a child needs 1 tablespoon of food per year of age and each meal. That means a three year old needs at least 3 tablespoons of food at breakfast, and lunch, and dinner in order to maintain health and growth. These are not the healing portions that we are tempted to put on our children’s plates ; they are standard measurement portions.
Allowing children to serve them selves encourages them to eat large portions of a variety of foods. When children get to control their choices in the amount of food they take, Milton becomes more enjoyable for them and you. Participation in meal planning and preparation also encourages children to feel that they are part of the process of meal time. We used to do family style dining. It’s actually prohibited now due to Covid.
A family meal can be a time of conversation and relaxation or timer for frustration and anger. By offering children smaller amounts, the opportunity to help parents prepare meals, and a chance to serve themselves, we can provide a calmer, more satisfying meal time for everyone.
Today the children helped write a list of what we needed to do to prepare for our meal. They were excited that we would be eating on gold plates and be using bright shiny silver ware.
Nayomi made napkin rings that right colored napkins were put in
Joselyn and Hazel decorated place cards for the table so everyone would know where to sit. They looked at the cubbies to know how to spell their friends names and then decorated the card with a feather .
Before sitting down for our meal we watched an episode of Daniel tiger where he talked about how important it is to try new foods. I knew many of these foods would be new to our kids and they might be overwhelmed. As they walked down the stairs many of them chanted what Daniel tiger had said “ try new food , you might like it .” Most of the kids tried everything on their plates.
It was a good day. Now we are all stuffed and need a nap.