Getting Kids to the Dinner Table: What is the parent's job?

Nov 13, 2009 by

The proper attitude for parents at the dinner table (and a lot of other places) is “engrasa y aprieta,” a Spanish expression meaning literally to grease and to tighten.

A balance of both greasing and tightening is generally needed to successfully bring order out of chaos in your family meals.

If you are joyless and grim about what, where, when and how much your kids eat, you need to lighten up.  Make it fun, make it delicious. If on the other hand, you are haphazard and careless about how, when and what they eat, you need to tighten up.

Bringing in some structure requires discipline on the part of parents and children, but maybe not in the ways you might think.

Knowing when to grease and when to tighten is easier if you know what your job is a parent and what is the children’s, with the labor clearly divided.

The parent’s job description:

DO:

  1. Be in…
    read more

How to get kids to the dinner table: get an attitude

Nov 9, 2009 by

I like to say it’s never too late to change. While in theory, it’s never too late, the reality is that sometimes, for various reasons, it just is.

Whether it’s too late for you to start serving real meals and getting your kids to…

read more

Grease and tighten: How to Get Kids to the Dinner Table

Nov 2, 2009 by

It’s one thing to cook dinner regularly and sit down to it together at the table daily from the start of your life as a family. It’s another to come under the conviction that it’s something you should have been doing all along, when the children are five, ten or 15 years old.

How can we get kids used to sitting down and eating regular meals at the table when they’ve become accustomed to doing things altogether otherwise? Where do we begin?

There’s a Spanish expression, “engrasa y aprieta,” meaning “to grease and tighten,” that describes the proper attitude for the parent undertaking such a major family overhaul. While you restrict and require, you also make it enjoyable. Both parts are needed.

It’s similar to the way logic and emotion work…

read more

Taking a Detour: One good way to neutralize a kid’s food resistance

Oct 11, 2009 by

ConklinbookDSC_8156 “Yuck! I don’t want any of that!” your little one says when she gets to the table and sees the healthy dish you’ve lovingly prepared. You feel pretty strongly about her eating it. So what comes next?

Which is closest to your reaction?

a) “You have to eat one bite.”

b) “If you eat it all, you can have some dessert.”

c) “If you don’t…

read more

Training Kids to Tune Out External Cues, Tune in to Internal Ones

Aug 17, 2009 by

Stock girl looking in fridge

How do we humans know when it’s time to eat? Or how much to eat?

It starts well: in the beginning, our hunger perfectly regulates our eating.  A baby cries when she’s hungry and we feed her the optimal food—breast milk—or the best baby formula we can buy. It’s a simple as that.  Parents, who know best, feed the baby only those foods that will benefit her, and she learns to like them. So far, so good.

Getting civilized

It all becomes considerably more complicated as we grow up. In part, it’s a matter of becoming more civilized in our eating habits. Learning to follow some external cues…

read more

Slow food: the conversational, recreational artichoke for kids of all ages

Jul 11, 2009 by

  Stock artichoke

 

 My almost-19-year-old came home for a visit last weekend. Fresh out of high school and now on his own working a few hours from home, he had been away for three weeks.  My husband and I knew that we had competition for his time. So I did my best in my meal planning to conspire to keep him around as much as possible during his too-short stay.

First, I served food I knew he’d love all weekend. He’s mostly vegetarian, and I knew he’d eaten a lot of eggs since leaving home. So I…

read more
Page 4 of 6« First...23456