Expectations- Mealtime Routine
In many of our daily life activities, there are general expectations that we all need to follow, and it's important that we know what those expectations are. Children’s behavior is improved when they know what is expected of them and what “rules” they will need to follow. When your picky eater comes to the table, and if each time they have no idea what expectations there are or each time the expectations are a little different than the previous meal, this can make it difficult for them to stay at the table and be more willing to try new foods.
Currently, what are your family mealtime expectations? Do you provide reinforcement during or at the end of a meal? Do you require taking so many bites, or trying a bite of each food before they can be excused? Do you allow iPads/phones at the table? Can you play with toys or watch TV while eating? Do you allow for mealtime conversations? Do you present both non-preferred and preferred foods? Are they allowed to eat wherever they want?
Decide what is best for your family and what will help make mealtimes enjoyable! Discuss those expectations with your children, follow through, and be consistent. Focus on what children GET to do during mealtimes, versus what they DON’T GET to do. For example, “I know that you want to have your iPad at the table, but instead, you get to have conversations with your family!” Involve your child, and let them help decide some of the mealtime expectations. Giving a little control of that to them may help with the follow-through! 💜