by Tovah Klein
This is the second part of the 10-step food roadmap to healthy eating habits for your children by the child psychologist Tovah P. Klein, PhD:
5) Follow regular meal times for the most part, to create regular eating patterns. When special events happen or a late night occurs, no need to fret. Your child is flexible enough to go off routine, knowing you will go back to it soon.
6) Serve food, including 1 or 2 items you know your child likes (usually carbs). Children tend not to want new foods, but can get used to them over time. Keep offering new foods while allowing them to say no. And remember- no pressuring or forcing them.
7) Let children feed themselves, even young ones. Messy is a phase that passes. A child can’t learn to eat independently if someone is putting food in her mouth.
8) Avoid forbidding foods or labeling them ’special’ or ‘treats’. Forbidden foods become unbelievably desirable. Don’t want your child eating something? Keep it out of your home. Sweets and other foods can be eaten in moderation and that helps your child learn good habits.
9) Children’s eating waxes and wanes. Hungry one day, not the next. Nutritionists say it is what they eat over a 7-10 day period that matters, not what they eat daily.
10) Politeness at meals? It comes in time. Model it. Children learn to treat others in the ways that adults treat them. Say please/thank you, they will one day, too.
Enjoy mealtimes together.