Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Mom's Minute: Picky Eaters

Okay, it's dinnertime.

The family is starved, everyone is tired, and dinner is served. That's when it starts.

The comments about how certain veggies are gross and some like sauce and some don't, some like it on the side and some want it right on top. Everyone has his or her likes or dislikes.

You can go two ways.

One way follows the philosophy simply stated as, "You get what you get and you don't throw a fit." Or, you may opt for a more creative approach. Involve your children. Let them plan dinner for a change (with some guidelines). Teach them what a healthy meal is. Have the children choose a protein, a fruit or veggie, and a pasta or grain. Take down some of the cookbooks that never seems to make it off the shelf and teach your kids how to read and follow a new recipe.

Show them that it's fun to try new things. Take them shopping for the meal they have chosen. Let them help prepare it. Enjoy your time together in the kitchen. You'll be amazed with the results.

Enjoy your children and your dinner!

A Mom's Minute: The Short Answer

I was reading an article in a parenting magazine the other day (okay, the other year... but it's still bugging me). A gentlemen had written about teaching your teenager not to talk too much. He felt that at the supper table, small details of a story weren't important and that children of all ages should learn to cut things short so everyone could have time to share.

I would like to meet this man. I would love to tell him what I thought about his article. I wonder if he views all of his blessings as a problem.

How many of you would love to have your children excited to talk to you?! I know I am pleasantly surprised when my kids want to include me in the events of their day.

If your child's typical answer to the question, "How was your day?" is a short "Fine," you might want to try these questions instead:

"What was the best part of your day?"

"What was your least favorite thing you did today?"

With open-ended questions, you just might get your kids to actually talk. And if they already do, consider yourself blessed. Remember this at times like these: it only takes a moment to make a memory that lasts a lifetime.

A Mom's Minute: Who's the Boss?

Here's a question: Who's running your family?

Many parents feel they are doing their child a favor by letting them make a majority of the family's decisions. Decisions like what extra activities they are involved in, where they go to school, what they watch on TV, their bedtime and - believe it or not - even when it's time to take a bath.

Children indeed have their own opinions, but they also obviously have much less life experience. Giving your child choices is a great idea. It's our job as parents to teach them how to make an appropriate choice. To show them that not everyone's needs are met all at the same time and that fair doesn't always mean equal.

We need to teach them to follow through with their decisions and that once a task is begun, there is no quitting. If your child makes a choice that doesn't quite turn out as they wish, teach them to learn from their mistakes.

Let your kids have control that is age appropriate. The parents are the ones in the family that have the final say. It's not easy being a kid so don't add the pressure of making an adult decision. I'm sure you already know it's not easy being a parent. But it's definitely worth it.