Based on the title of this post, you may be thinking that I'm going to write about my zombie children and their cannibalistic ways. I promise you, though, this is good clean fun!
While Big-A has always been open to trying new foods and cleaning his plate at each meal, Lil-J is a totally different child. He's a typical toddler, full of indecisiveness and stubborness, especially when it comes to food! Any time that we're eating a food that he's not fond of, I follow the same method that I followed with Big-A because it always works - the food goes on Lil-J's plate and if it doesn't get eaten, that's ok. Eventually he'll be curious enough to try it.
As we win the the battle of the foods Lil-J doesn't like, a whole new battle begins. He'll suddenly stop liking a food that he's eaten for the past 2 years! It's frustrating for all of us! One night during dinner, I noticed that he was quietly talking to himself and not eating. When I looked over, I noticed that he was playing with his pork chops, pretending they were people and making them walk around his plate and high chair tray. It was super cute and we all had a laugh! It also gave me a great new negotiating tool...when you're dealing with toddlers, any new way to negotiate is welcome!
The next time that we had dinner and served green beans (aka Lil-J's nemesis), he refused to eat them. Well, he did eat the little peas inside the pods, but left the actual beans on his plate. I decided to play his own game and name the green beans, as he did with his pork chops. The first one was Dada. I dared him to eat the Dada bean. Excitedly, he did! We then moved onto a Mama bean, a Big-A bean, Nana & Papa beans, Grandma & Grampa beans, we even named beans after the family dogs! By the time we were done, every single bit of green bean was gone from his plate and in his tummy.
|Lil-J enjoying a dinner of roast pork, roasted potatoes and peas.|
That night, we had to think of a name for almost every pea!
Our 'Eat The Family' game is a fun way to get through dinner and we play it almost every night now. Even Big-A plays the game with his little bro, helping him to finish his dinner. We're prepared for those stubborn moments, when Lil-J suddenly decides that he no longer likes baked potato after loving it for the past 2 years, and we will name each little chunk of potato after a family member. He still won't touch asparagus or Swiss Chard, leaving it all for his big bro. But I know that he will eat and enjoy these foods with time. For now, I'm happy with the little wins like the green beans that are cleaned off his plate during dinner.
The next time your little one refuses to try a new food or eat a food that they've previously loved, dare them to munch on a Daddy or Grampa or Auntie bean. The excitement in the game just may leave their plate clean too!