Two totally true stories moms recently told me illustrate a key principle in getting kids to come to the table, behave, and eat what you want them to eat.
Marlena’s kids are very narrow in what they will eat. They’re afraid of new foods. The dinner table is a battlefield of pressuring and resistance. Her overweight four-year-old, Walker, survives on bean-and-cheese tacos, filling up on juice to make it through the day to avoid other foods.
When her children won’t eat dinner, she feeds them whatever they are willing to eat, right before bed, in order to keep them asleep (so they don’t scream during the night).
One evening the whole family was doing the chicken dance after each bite Walker took, because that’s what got him to eat. She also considered it an improvement the other day when he allowed her to spoon chicken and rice into his mouth while he…