Making Family Mealtime More Enjoyable
Mealtime can be a really rich way for kids to learn communication skills, to learn give-and-take, to learn how what it's like to function within the system. Even chores that are related to the mealtime can help develop responsibility and follow-through and what it means to work together as a team.
How do you prevent short-order cook syndrome?
It's really easy to fall into that mindset where kids have an opportunity to choose what they want. I think what's far better is to allow them to have some say in the meal in general at the onset versus from the back end. That gives them some responsibility and some ownership into the meal.
How can parents get their kids to try new foods?
Make it fun! Make mealtime interesting. You can have a theme night and have kids pick what theme night is but the important thing is to pair up preferred foods with non-preferred foods and to set that expectation, and to set those expectations when they're young.
How can parents still have family mealtime with busy schedules?
Sometimes you're going to have meals that occur on the fly, sometimes you're going to have meals that are order out or take-out and that's ok. It is really what kids experience. Do they experience that it is a pleasant event, do they experiences that it's a family event, do they experience that they have some ownership in that.
With families being so busy and driven by a schedule sports, what is important is to compromise and to come up with a happy medium where most kids can be together and most family members can be together and make that mealtime a happening.