My family attended a party the other day; hosted by another couple. This party was mainly 3 year olds, with my 5+ year old being the senior of the group. There was playing, there was crying, there was a laundry room in the back of the place which doubled as a hockey rink. And side story – this is exactly why none of those shows were they build a tiny home were ever meant for a family that loved entertaining, and lived north of the 35th parallel. You can’t have a separate play room where you can send friends and guests when you live in a tiny home. – Anyway, this party had an informal dinner. Lasagna, a solid choice, salad, veggie tray. Simple and complete.
Of course no matter what you serve, some child will not be down with it. And with parents looking to get a salad into their kids bellies, well, that’s a recipe for conflict. Which is why it’s not surprising that I heard a lot of threatening.
Children’s stomach’s must be the first thing that kids realize are theirs and theirs alone. They have the key. And if a parent wants in there – well, it just depends on the whim of the moment.
With parents wanting to please the host, look in control, and get veggies in - more threats to open up that lockbox of a stomach. Now at this moment, my kids are sitting to the side and quietly putting away their big portions of lasagna and salad, so I kind of know what I’m doing here.
And on the other side of the room, was “eat your salad or there will be no more playing”, and “Eat at least one bite of the lasagna now” and “Three bites of veggies and you can get down”…. Which I promptly watched one very small child bargain his mom down to 1 small nibble of a veggie, and then got down and started playing.
And you might say, of course you didn’t have to threaten your kids to eat, they were eating. But that’s kind of the point – their stomach is theirs and parents have very little control. Specifically, we as parents can direct what they eat and where they eat it (not in front of a tv), but they control how much at this mid age. You can’t threaten for them to eat it – it’s not your control. Take control of what you can, but learn what’s not yours too. And while this is about food, it’s also important for other topics, control what you can, but don’t make threats on things you won’t or can’t follow through on. And from my listening to parents that night, I can tell you, a lot of parents won’t follow through on a lot of topics. Not putting yourself in those positions, will put yourself in a much better stance to win.