M is not a huge fan of eggs. It’s one of those foods she eats for awhile, then passes over for months on end. I made scrambled eggs the other morning “for” my husband and I, putting out cereal, milk and yogurt for my daughter. I caught myself before pre-plating the eggs directly onto our toast (we do breakfast a little differently than other meals) and remembered to put the eggs on a plate in the middle of the table, with a plate for M in case she wanted some. (Without comment.)
We settled in, I helped myself to some eggs, M started with cereal. I offered her eggs, she said, “No thank you,” and we moved on.
We’re chatting away, and at some point I say, (because it was true, not to try to make her eat eggs), “These eggs are really hitting the spot. Mmm.”
A few minutes later (not right away), M reaches out and takes a few small hunks of eggs and sprinkles some salt on them and eats them. She then eats the rest of her cereal.
It was such a powerful reminder for me, yes, even when I live and breathe this stuff at home and work, I forget…
- Make it easy for a child to take a food—it was in reach, she had a plate. If I hadn’t remembered to do that, the barrier of getting a new plate would have likely been enough to make her pass.
- Offer, and calmly take no for an answer.
- Wait… don’t whisk the eggs away or finish off the plate. Time and again after initially refusing a food, within a few minutes she might try some or take it. (I hear this from parents all the time.)
- Don’t offer opportunities for kids to reject food or have to take a stand (pre-plating, arguing that she liked them last time, or used to like them…)
- There is no need to oversell a food, offer repeatedly etc. This in fact will turn many kids off.
- Be honest and watch for the agenda. Having been at this for awhile, I trust she’ll come back to eggs, or not, on her own time frame. I can share my authentic pleasure and joy with food when my motivation is about that, sharing pleasure, not getting her to eat more.
What do you think? Have you seen this at work at your table?
If you’re curious, search for “Crazy mealtime theater” for more anecdotes from my table with feeding lessons. Here are a few…