Thursday, September 19, 2013

supper time battles

Is there a mom on the planet that hasn't experienced the supper time battles?
Y'all know what I'm talking about.  It's when you put anything that's not a chicken nugget, bagel bite, or waffle on their plate and they whine about it.
A few months ago, I pretty much reached my breaking point on this. I was over the whining. I was over the bribing them to try food. I was over just letting them not eat and then having to throw food away.
In one of my brief and rare moments of clarity, I remembered a trick my mom used with my brothers, who were also picky eaters.
Don't you love those moments when you realize your mom really does have all the answers!?
So, I sat down and let each child pick three foods they didn't like and I would never make them eat. 
It's interesting to see their lists.  Jack wrote his own; shepherd's pie, chicken divan, and microwave tacos.  There went two of my staples.  And I guess I'll have to stop being lazy and actually cook the quesadillas on the stove from now on.  Melody picked all fruit.  I think she was having an off day.  And Charlie just generally likes to eat (Clearly he gets that from me) and had to resort to beverages.
Let me tell you...this has worked like a charm.
I started kind of slow.  For the first week or two, I would always pair something new or previously disliked/rejected with a staple I knew they would eat.
At the beginning, there was a little whining and I would just say (sometimes more than once), "I'm sorry, but that's not on your list."
Yes, this took patience and, even more importantly, consistency.
Guess what eventually happened?
They stopped whining and now they just eat it.
Yep. Just like that.
Disclaimer: If it's a new food or something I knew they won't be crazy about, I will only put 2-4 bites on their plate.  This way it isn't overwhelming to them to have to eat a whole plateful of something.
Also, I let them update their lists every few months.  After all, their taste change and food choices change.  I'm not going to be serving up blackberries in the dead of winter, so it's silly for Melody to have something on her list that's not available anyway.
Have you experienced supper time battles in your house?
What have you found that works?


Lauren Snellings said...

LOVE this idea! I am so over the food battles as well. I am going to have to try this with Emma Jane!

Bren said...

Abbie will eat almost anything and Maggie is just starting to grow out of being super picky. It helped that they both watched a Daniel Tiger about trying new food. ME telling them it's good to try just doesn't compare to Daniel Tiger telling them!!