Have you made resolutions for 2018? If you're like most parents, your resolutions include getting healthier or spending more quality time with your kids. I have some ideas to encourage parents to do both! Here are a few tips to help you with your New Year's Feeding Resolutions.
Make realistic feeding goals: Set your sights on making feeding goals that are achievable for your entire family. For example, a realistic goal could be to cook and serve more vegetables for dinner (instead of three meals a day). Another realistic goal is to take an extra five minutes on fun food art on the weekends. These goals will help you gain momentum on your feeding journey. Here are a few additional tips:
- Write down your long-term goal (e.g., ‘I want my daughter to eat more protein’)
- Write down your short-term goals that will help you obtain your long-term goal (e.g., ‘Each week I will introduce a new protein source’)
- Be specific and realistic for your life and your family (e.g., ‘I will introduce a new protein source on Sunday when the whole family can eat together’)
Organize your feeding space: I can’t tell you how many times I have entered a home to do feeding therapy and the dining room table is cluttered with bills, newspapers, homework or sporting equipment. I do not judge when I see this, as the table is a perfect meeting space for daily family events and school assignments. But it’s also important for parents to know that kids may respond negatively to a chaotic mealtime experience. For example, they may refuse to eat, get up from the table after a few bites, or only want to eat snacks. Although challenging, organizing your feeding space is something you can control. Here are some suggestions:
- Whether you have mealtime at the kitchen table, the playroom, in front of the TV (for movie night), or at the kitchen island, try to keep that feeding space clutter-free to decrease anxiety at mealtime.
- Organize your kitchen’s ‘junk drawer’ by consolidating utensils, cups and bibs. Choose dishes that are easy for you to stack and that can be organized nicely in a drawer.
Focus on the positive: Mealtime can be overwhelming for parents, which is why there is a tendency to focus on a child’s food refusal or mealtime behaviors. But we also need to concentrate on what children CAN do at mealtime! To remind us to focus on the positive, try making a New Year Mealtime Jar. Each week, write down one of your feeding victories and place the note into the jar. Did your child finally learn how to use a spoon? Write down that victory and place it in the jar. Did they eat a pomegranate for the first time? Place that in there too! At the end of the year, your family can go through all the notes and celebrate your feeding success.
This New Year, team ezpz looks forward to joining you on your mealtime journey. We will continue to provide parents with accurate feeding education and the mealtime tools you need to help you succeed. What are your feeding goals this year? #ezpzfun #feedinggoals
Dawn Winkelmann, M.S, CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist & Feeding Specialist for ezpz