6 keys to avoid fights with family food

When in a family food becomes a tool to generate stress or anxiety, this disturbs and negatively affects the family rhythm. Since food is a constant in our lives, the fact that there are fights over food is equivalent to saying that in the family there is an endless conflict. However, there are ways to stop these battles with your children and to enjoy enjoying food and family meals.

6 keys to avoid a battle in family meals

Some current data, extracted and adapted from the publications of Ellyn Satter, a leading child nutritionist, can shed some light and help you decide what is best for sitting at the table to eat together as a family.


1. The division of responsibilities when feeding babies and children

- The father and mother are responsible what the child eats, when he eats it and where he eats it.
- The child is responsible how much you eat or even if you eat what you have on the plate or not.

2. Children have a built-in barometer to measure hunger and the feeling of being full

- Hunger can get the child excited at the prospect of a meal because the body is urgently demanding its dose of energy. However, not eating enough food can make hunger an unbearable burden.
- The feeling of fullness It can make the body feel calm and relaxed by having eaten enough food to meet the needs of the body. However, continuing to eat beyond the limits of satiety can be uncomfortable.


3. The family table It is supposed to be composed of a group of people who share a common meal. Babies can sit at the family table since they are 8-12 months old and eat the food that the rest of the family is taking. Making babies and toddlers special dishes that are different from the food the rest of the family is sharing can be stressful. Instead, it is better to adapt what others are eating to the needs of the child (crush the vegetables and potatoes with a fork, cut the meat into small pieces, etc.).

4. Children can learn to behave well at the table since they are very small; more or less, since they are 24 months (2 years). Families do not have to put up with a child who is continually complaining, crying, being unfriendly and sullen, or giving him a ride.


- To stop this behavior at the root, Talk to him clearly and severely and tell him: "You're complaining and whining: Enough is enough" and then ignore the child. Usually this is enough to get the child to stop and behave well. If the child does not stop in 5-10 seconds, tell him to leave the table and do not let him come back until he changes his attitude.
- By the way: do not let the child, when leaving, take food from the table. It is not about being cruel to the child: it is about teaching him / her that he / she is an important person in the family and that their behavior is negatively affecting the rest of the people who are sitting at the table. It is important that you talk with your child later about what has happened, using a vocabulary that is appropriate for their age. Do not let your guard down and keep enforcing this rule. In this way, the child will end up fulfilling the norm and will be able to join the table and enjoy a family meal.

5. Meals and structured snacks are important so that children establish a healthy and healthy relationship with food. Having a routine to which the child can cling allows them to know with greater certainty how much they should eat, because they know what time the next meal is.

6. Eat at the same time that the child is extremely important. Children acquire social skills while interacting with parents. Since eating is a social activity, children have to learn to behave when there is food involved, to interact with others while they eat together and to assimilate constructive criticism from their parents when they put these skills into practice.

Deanna Marie Mason, expert in education and family health. Author of the blog Dr. Deanna Marie Mason. Proactive fatherhood

It may interest you:

- 5 reasons to encourage family dinners

- How to end battles with your children at lunchtime

- Sit at the table to eat together

- Eat with the family

- Eating with education: at the table, clear rules

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