Thursday, February 5, 2015

Mealtime Magic

The view from my sewing studio. Can you see the kids through the branches?




Sleeve beginnings

Well, the rain has returned but happily the outdoor play has remained. As I try to get my studio organized I discovered that I can see the kids playing in the backyard through the window. I'm crossing my fingers that this summer they'll spend more than 30 minutes outside and I'll be able to actually get some sewing done while they are playing. I'm not holding my breath though...

After having many battles over mealtimes and snacks I sought out the wisdom of Ellyn Satter. Her book has eliminated many of the struggles we've been having. It's common sense advice, but apparently I didn't have that common sense. Now instead of waiting for the kids to come into the kitchen, rummaging for a snack, I put out a plate of food and announce snack time midway between lunch and dinner. She recommends putting out a variety of food and then letting the children serve themselves. You get to choose what you serve and they get to choose what they eat and how much they eat. When I put out the snack pictured above I was amazed to see that the pineapple was devoured first, then a few bites of cookie, some snap peas (Gianna insists that they are to be eaten like shelling peas, despite them being snap peas), and then finished off their cookies. And then, much to my amazement, they left the extra cookies on the plate! Since I wasn't the gatekeeper of the cookies it didn't turn into a power struggle. I firmly believe Gianna would have asked for, and eaten, a second cookie if she hadn't had the freedom to choose another for herself or not. Since it wasn't about control, she opted not to eat it. It was SO EASY! I take the same approach at mealtime. I put everything out on the table, let them serve themselves, and don't talk about the food at all. I have been shocked at how much more peaceful dinner is when I'm not continually suggesting eating another bite of broccoli or whatever, and they mostly eat a lot of good food. True, last night neither of them ate the braised baby bok choi, but it was a bit slimy and bland so who could blame them. This approach has really changed our days for the better. Hooray!

I've finished the body section of the Fimma and have just begun the sleeves. Knitting all of that blue was tedious. I'm so happy to be moving on the something else!

1 comment:

  1. That's a great approach to kids' eating. I try to take a relaxed attitude about it too, which usually works. It's not worth the battles and I hate to think of the habits we'd create if we did engage that way. I think kids are pretty good at deciding what they like and when they're full, and those are worth nurturing in them as they grow.