“No!” “Don’t eat that!” “You can’t have that!” “Finish your dinner!”
Instead of this response try:
“I understand you want that ___, but we want to eat ___ first.”
“It’s fun to eat ___, so let’s save that for a special occasion.”
“It looks like you are full because you are not wanting to finish your plate. Mommy is going to put the food away for the night if you are finished.”
“Did you know the broccoli on your plate gives you superpowers?!”
Talking to kids about food can be infuriating, frustrating, and an all-out dinner war. We get it. Right now, your child’s mind is developing at a crazy fast rate, and how you respond matters.
Have you tried redirecting or reframing as opposed to yelling the 'you can’t’s'?
As parents, sometimes we just want to yell and force our children to sit down and finish dinner, and that’s understandable. However, it is so important we step back and respond differently than what our emotions are telling us.
Not only will our homes be happier, but we are also teaching our children how to control our emotional reactions.
Just as in Dr. Siegel and Dr. Bryson’s amazing book “No-Drama Discipline” (we highly recommended it!) the same approach goes for what we call “food discipline”.
We want to reframe your child’s perspective on food. One great way to do that is to hype up the food he/she is eating with truth and excitement. “Wow! Did you know carrots can make you see better? Let’s see if you can have some night vision or be able to see things only YOU can see!”
Or involve the child in creating a “rainbow” plate. Your LO chooses the red food he/she wants for dinner. The next night, focus on orange, and so forth.
When a child is involved and part of the decision-making process, he/she has ownership and feels more in control of him/herself, oftentimes resulting in better cooperation.
What do YOU do to redirect and reframe topics around food to instill positivity around this challenge many parents face? Comment below!