I have a toddler (3yo) and a tiny tot (1 month) and DP (46yo, but 17 for the purposes of this post). We are having some of the common problems with our elder daughter, re fussy eating and mealtimes are becoming quite unenjoyable. I need some ideas about how to lighten the mood as we sit down to eat as there's definite tension around the subject of what DD will/won't eat. I know the theory - just let it go if she only wants bread and butter every day - but I find it really hard not to watch every mouthful going in (or not) and not comenting on what she has eaten, even praise. DP is from a family where they mostly eat in silence, so he finds that normal and just thinks his own thoughts while bolting his food. How can we change the mood?
Thanks, Boys, I know that's good advice, but here's what I find confusing:
Don't hover: does that mean don't wait for her to finish, even if I've finished? I'm often sitting there and waiting for her to finish because the books say 'eat together'. However sometimes I think she relaxes more when I go and do the washing up or read the paper, so she's no longer being observed (how do you not observe the person sitting opposite you once you have finished?).
Light chit chat: Please expand! What is this with a 3yo? With DD i get grunts and "ok" in return for my best cocktail party chatter. It is so one-way and I just peeter out.
I guess I have 2 very different scenarios. One is me and her (usually lunch times) when I wonder if maybe I should relax the 'eat together' rule. The other is with DP, when he's often very uncommunicative and doesn't want to make conversation so I'm left doing it on my own - not well. Any more ideas?
show by example that food is great by letting them see you enjoy eating it and eating a wide variety of foods/textures. Don't make a fuss over them as this gives them too much power/attention. don't pamper to individual tastes (with maybe few exceptions) - nearly all children will eat chips and desert if given an option. Eat most of your main meal then you can have desert is how we work it - but don't fuss just leave it there with a ....not hungry now then come back later
how you chat/when you get up etc is an extra i think and won't actually make much difference to their eating habits.