A rite of passage for every parent seems to be dinnertime meltdowns. Don’t let dinnertime become a nightmare. Here are six tips to help!
1. Offer lots of choices.
One of the best things to do is offer your child choices if you are facing the dreaded dinnertime meltdown. Would you rather have carrots or broccoli? Are you interested in spaghetti or tortellini for dinner? Letting your child help plan the menu may peak their interest for what’s on their plate!
2. Think short meal times.
Thinking shorter meal times is an important trick—especially with younger kids. Who wants to sit in a high chair for an hour when there are toys to play with and things to explore? If your child fights you at the table, consider shortening meal time.
3. Prepare together.
Is there a way that your child can be involved in meal preparation? Can they help chop the celery or set the table for dinner? Even something as small as letting your child decide what plate they want to use can make all the difference.
4. Positive reinforcement.
Any new food your child tries or any night without a dinnertime meltdown calls for positive reinforcement! Praise your child for trying that piece of cauliflower or for making it through the meal without a fight.
5. Avoid the fight.
Dinnertime meltdowns can turn very quickly into a power struggle. You want them to eat. They want to do whatever it is they want to do. Avoid the fight if possible and look for ways to make family mealtime a positive time together.
6. Consult your pediatrician.
If you have real concerns about your child’s eating habits or their nutrition, consult your pediatrician. They may recommend a multivitamin or help you take steps to ensure your child is getting all the nutrients they need.