We started off asking ourselves what's important to each of us at meal time.
Then, we thought about our own unique struggles at meal time.
We completed the topic by both challenging our ideals, and discussing creative ideas.
The dinner meal seemed to come to mind most often in the discussion. Family time, calming ritual, helping out, share time, food diversity and nutrition, were consistent important topics among the group. So much more than just food in the belly!
We found that many of our meal time struggles were not all that unique: rushing, crying, can't sit still (adults or children), messes, not eating, waste, and not calm at all. There is some logic to be applied in that trying the same things over and over and expecting different results, is crazy!
Different ideas that came up to try:
- Prayer jar (or gratuitous statements) as a ritual to bring the family to the table.
- Decide your family approach for eating variety. One option was to offer a variety of food, but not apply pressure beyond encouragement to try the items. One option was to require the child to taste one bite of each different item, but not apply pressure to eat all of the plate. Another, to offer only the dinner plate food from dinner time through the evening, but no pressure to sit and eat. And possibly, a solution around food tasting/eating that varied depending on the meal, or trying different approaches to see what works with individual children.
- "Pancake Pancake" ...
- Try, try again, patience, perseverance.
- Recognize eating choices and behaviors as phases
- Model the behavior you wish to teach. (doh!)
The discussion was fruitful and constructive. It was not exhaustive, but it jumped rapidly to the topics that seemed most relevant to those who were attending.
A blog post on a similar topic was written recently by Janet Lansbury
The next gathering will perhaps take the venue of a backyard grill. However, the third week of April is around Easter, where many of us will be unavailable. The date of the next gathering is TBD.