Every time my daughter scooted out the door in the morning without a lick of food in her tummy, I could hear my own mother's voice in the back of my head. "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day," she intones. Yup, and I'm shooting for mother of the year, I was thinking.
This used to be my life: petulant toddler facing breakfast like it's a cowboy in the OK Corral and she's Wyatt Earp. That bowl of cereal was not going down without a fight. But lest my mother think I never listened to her, I righted the ship. My kid may not want to go to bed at night, but at least she wakes up ready to eat.
Want to make this miracle happen in your house? Here's how:
1. Stop Serving the Same Garbage Day After Day. My apologies to the chef, but it needs to be said. You may be perfectly OK with the same bowl of cereal and a banana rut that you've been stuck in since college, but kids like a little variety. A bowl of cereal today, followed by oatmeal tomorrow and pancakes on a Sunday morning, go a long way toward keeping your kid on her toes ... and more willing to partake of the offerings.
2. Eat With Them. If mornings in your house are anything like mine, the word chaos doesn't quite cover it. And yet, if I take a few minutes out of it to sit down and chat with my daughter while she shovels oatmeal into her mouth, I've noticed she actually DOES it, and we often get in a nice conversation about something I might have never known about her day. You can say you don't have time, but think of it this way -- how much time do you spend fighting with him to eat? You're using that same amount of time in a positive way.
3. Occasional Treats Aren't a Bad Thing. It was a special day in my house as a kid when we were allowed to pour out a bowl of the sugary cereal my dad preferred, and my brother and I looked forward to it all week. It made us much more willing to eat our much more kid-appropriate healthy stuff the rest of the week.
4. Make It Taste Good. I shouldn't have to remind you of that icky glop your mom tried to get you to swallow when you were a kid, but I'm always amazed how quickly moms forget that they had foods they didn't like when they were kids either. I've made a vow to have my daughter try those detested meals from my childhood to see if she likes them, but if she doesn't, I move on. No use torturing her too! Making it look good doesn't hurt either -- all it takes is a few slices of banana smiling out at her from atop that waffle, and she's ready to gobble.
5. Relax the Rules. I know, eating in the car or in front of the cartoons aren't the best options in the world. But sometimes we have to make sacrifices. Far better for it to be the state of your backseat than food in kiddo's tummy. This doesn't make you a bad mom; it makes you a practical one.
What are your tricks for getting them to actually eat breakfast?
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