We’ve all been there, if you ever hear a parent say their child has never had a tantrum at meal time they are lying! I am by no means an expert – I have had spag bol threw at me more than once! However, I have learnt a few simple tips that might make meal times that little bit easier. So sit back with a cuppa and relax knowing you’re not being judged – because at Moon and Spoon we have made every mistake in the book. In fact I could probably write a blog called ‘What not to say to your child when they are having a tantrum!’
Tip 1 – Involve kids in food prep – This is my absolute number one, golden nugget! If you make kids feel involved they will be more likely to eat it. Let them decide what is for dinner and help you prepare it. Sure, they could still decide when the time comes to eating to throw it half way across the room, however, the chances of this are much less if they have felt involved!
Tip 2- Keep a routine – Try to keep dinner time around the same time every night and the routine surrounding it. Don’t let kids snack coming up to dinner and equally don’t rush things.
Tip 3 – Be gentle – You’ve done all the above but the tantrum is brewing – DON’T PANIC! Easier said than done, however, the most important thing is not to panic. Take a deep breath, relax and remember you child is not going to starve to death! Gently tell your child that they need to eat the dinner – if they start kicking up tell them you understand they are finding it difficult so you are going to give them a few minutes out to calm down. Once that time has passed bring them back to the table and start again.
Tip 4 – Try a distraction – Tell your kids a funny story or ask them to tell you something that happened to them in nursery/school. Distraction often helps calm them down. Once the story is complete encourage them to return to dinner.
Tip 5 – Be firm – Tantrums are normal and to be expected but remember to set boundaries and have punishments when the boundaries are broken. Whatever the punishment is make sure you stick with it. Doing this can feel like the hardest thing in the world, especially when you see those little brown eyes looking up pleading for forgiveness but remember you are showing your child love by disciplining them and preparing them for the rest of their life.
Finally, don’t beat yourself up – you really are doing a great job. If you find any of these tips useful or have any of your own tips please do let us know at Moon and Spoon we are on a mission to not just provide tasty nutritious meals but also to empower parents all over Ireland.