Since I’ve been lucky enough to babysit some of my favorite kids this week I’ve been thinking more about kid meals and how to keep them happy meals. At the same time I like to think that perhaps I could have a small healthy influence too. Lots to think about and balance and rethink and re-balance.
I remember when my kids were the ages of their kids when I instituted the “two food rule”. Everyone was allowed to not like two foods but only two foods. There was a chart where each person’s choice of their two foods were posted. The foods of choice could be changed at any time but had to be done in writing. Complaints in general also had to be submitted on a written form. Worked well and made meals pleasant and some people learned to like some surprising foods along the way.
Saw this idea today.
“I came up with an idea to help with mealtimes a few weeks ago and it’s been working really well, so I wanted to share it with you–not as someone who thinks she’s better than everyone or whose kids are perfect, but as another mom in the trenches just trying to make her home a better place. So with that said… introducing the Picky Pass! I give this to my picky eaters at the beginning of the week. They only get one for the whole week (though you could certainly shorten the time frame, like they get one a day or extend it so they get one a month, it’s just dependent on the kid, their attention span, what reward you choose–read on–, etc.) If, during that time frame, the child is offered something they just don’t want to eat, they don’t have to whine or complain or throw a tantrum, they simply give me their picky pass and they don’t have to eat it. They know that is their right and that it’s ok. They won’t get something else, but they don’t have to eat whatever it is they don’t want to. But once they’ve used their picky pass, it is gone until the next week (or day). So if they use it on their zucchini casserole Monday, they can’t use it on Tuesday for roasted asparagus. The best part of this, though, is if they DON’T use their picky pass, they get a reward at the end of the time frame. In our house, that reward is the kids get to pick a special dessert. But it could just as easily be getting to stay up past bedtime, or get to pick out a fun toy at the store, or get to watch a TV show, or even have a little basket of their favorite candy that they can choose from. Obviously that’s something that each parent could tailor to their child and make it appropriate to the time frame being used, bigger reward for a longer time frame. This new Picky Pass method has really helped me, as a mom, relax and just let my kids be. I make sure that there’s plenty of options on the table so that they still have food, but I’m not as restrained in only preparing meals that I know they’ll eat and never trying anything new (I love trying new foods!). Before, mealtimes were a battle of wills. Now, if they choose to use the picky pass, I’m ok with that. And they know that they’ve used it, and they can’t use it again. I was a bit worried that we’d get a second picky meal in a week, and am not super sure how to handle that, but so far, all I’ve had to say was “You’ve already used your picky pass on ___, so I need you to eat your dinner today without complaint. You’ll get your picky pass back on Sunday.” And (in the few weeks we’ve been doing this) the complaining has ended. SO nice”! Lisa Shefer
Happy meals to all!