Every Monday when the University e-newsletter gets sent out I usually scroll to the bottom to read about what medical research and psychology studies are underway as they advertise for recruits and volunteers. Recently one of the advertisements caught my eye from the Triple P Positive Parenting Program, which was a commercial success for the University of Queensland. “Hassle Free Mealtimes, how support mealtime behaviors and problems for toddlers and young children.” I quickly signed up and a few weeks later enrolled into the workshop.
First of all I highly recommend Positive Parenting Programs. No, this one has been my first but would be keen to go to others. The mums and dads I met were wonderful. All doing our best as we support, care and do the best we can to grow healthy and well behaved kids. So what did I learn for a hassle free mealtime?
Why do children have difficulty at mealtimes?
- Too many instructions versus too few instructions.
- Too hard – perhaps the food is beyond the child’s ability?
- Bad timing. Expect resistance around TV.
- Too Vague instructions. “Don’t be silly” is an example.
- Confusing body language. Smiling when asking a child to stop is an example.
I was interested to learn a lot more behavioral cues that I had fallen for. For an example don’t instruct your child where the choice is yes or no because you need to be prepared for the no!
- “Do you want to go to the toilet?”…No
- “Would you like another bite?… No
I have to stop falling into the parent traps of accidental rewards (i.e. alternative foods), escalation of a raised voice and inconsistency of routine.
Right now it is difficult and my excuse is we are still renovating our house and not at our usual home so I am finding it terrible to have a routine but when we move in (hopefully in 5 weeks!) there will be some changes. Reward charts are back. New clear mealtime rules will be introduced and we will encourage more table manners.
What has been your meal time challenges and successes?