Did you know that the communication and relationship skills learned at the dinner table help prepare you and your family for life’s ups and downs? The FMI Foundation tells us all about it with their Family Meals Movement.
But what if family mealtime feels less like a time of family togetherness and more like a battlefield? Eatright.org says that a balance of communication between adults and children is the key to more harmonious meals. If a child is complaining about a meal, give them the power to change it.
If your child says:
- “My food is too hot” – suggest they set their plate in the fridge for a few minutes.
- “This food is boring” – allow them to add some pizzaz with grated cheese sprinkled on top, serve it in a fun dish, or let them add their favorite dip to the meal.
- “My plate has [fill in the blank] on it, and I don’t like that” – give your child permission to remove the part they don’t like.
- “I wish we were having” [fill in the blank] – ask your child if they’ll help you make that meal later in the week.
- “I hate [fill in the blank]” – ask your child to try one small bite. If they still don’t like it, allow them to push it aside. Kids like foods less when they are forced to eat them.
Giving your child a voice by opening the lines of communication, will lead to a more successful mealtime and stronger family relationships.
Communication skills can also be built by:
- Having a consistent family mealtime.
- Turning off the TV and removing other distractions.
- Asking questions that encourage communication. Download a copy of our conversation starters here.
- Avoid giving lectures or using dinner as a time to criticize or discipline your children.
- Give each family member a turn to share or ask questions.
With a little communication you can turn the dinnertime battle into a fun, family meal. Click here for more information on creating successful family mealtimes.
Of course, you’ll need something to eat at dinnertime! Sesame Chicken is one of our go to meals.
If your kids don’t like the peppers, offer a trade. You’ll take the peppers, and they can have the peas. Enjoy!