Whether you have a toddler, preschooler or a child of school age, we all experience the dreaded dinner production. It goes a little like this, us single mothers work or go to school all day, we come home and cook dinner for our kids only to see their "what the F is this" face. They proceed to wiggle, worm, scream and yell that they don't like what you are serving for dinner. What do you do?? Do you make them something they will eat? Do you fight with them and force them to eat what they have in front of them? or do you send them to bed hungry?
I really enjoy cooking and try many different recipes and creations. I try to get Ben to eat different foods and although he is not picky he will often tell me he "doesnt like this" even though he has not even tried it before. I will always ask him to try one bite to see if he likes it, most times he will try it and continue to eat it and others he will kick and scream and wiggle his way out of his booster seat. Some nights he will like his dinner but he will take almost 2 hours to finish it. He will talk and play and sing at the table, pretty much everything else but eat or chew.
When these issues began to arise at dinner time my solution was to go back into the kitchen and making something that Ben will actually eat, but what is that doing for him? Well its giving him the power, allowing him to dictate dinner time and what he will be eating at dinner as well as limiting his pallet to only the things he likes such as grilled cheese, hot dogs, chicken fingers, rice and french fries. Where is the nutrition in those items? In my opinion vegetables are a very important ingredient to any dinner. After many months of making double the meals and spending double the amount of time in the kitchen I came up with another solution. If he does not eat what I have made he does not get desert. That trick did not last too long because eventually desert was not as important to him as refusing his dinner. Recently, I have been telling him that if he does not eat his dinner he goes to bed early and hungry. Although the first few times were unsuccessful I really stuck with it and recently he has been eating his dinner even when he tells me he does not like it. The only issue I am facing now is, how do I get him to eat and chew in an acceptable time frame without spending 2 hours at the dinner table?
What are some of your dinner stories? How do you cope with dinner time? Do you use any strategies that work with your children?