My husband and I were discussing how enjoyable dinner has been lately. One of the main reasons dinner has been enjoyable is that we have been working really hard at avoiding snacks before dinner with the little one. I am not a snacker so this isn’t hard for me, but my husband likes to munch when he gets off of work. The little one has a snack in the car on the way home from school but if he get’s home and sees his Daddy eating he wants to try that snack out too! If Daddy lets him then dinner can turn into a grumbly affair where the babe takes two bites and proclaims he’s “all done” and stands up in his chair waiting for us to take him out because he’s full on snacks and doesn’t want to eat anything else.
My husband and I had a discussion about snacking in front of the babe over a week ago. Okay it wasn’t really a discussion it was a forced educational experience for my husband. I pointed out to him what I just explained above. He grumbled a little but also stated he understood. I explained to my husband that he could still snack himself, he would just have to become stealthier about it and not let the babe see him snacking.
If you think institution of no snacks before dinner is easy, let me warn you it can be a little painful at times. A few times the babe would go to the refrigerator or cupboard and ask for milk or a snack while I was in the kitchen preparing dinner. After his one after school snack I now have to tell him NO to any other snack (although I will let him steal a tomato, or a bite of cheese or other tidbit while I’m cooking if he’s “helping” me cook) . I tell him no and he moves into totally meltdown mode with protests, crying, and laying on the kitchen floor. He is quite stubborn and sometimes these antics can last for quite a long while, but I try my hardest to mean No when I say No so I let him carry on with the world is ending routine.
I’ve also instituted dessert for the little one. If he eats his dinner than he is allowed to have dessert which can be anything from a cupcake or cookie, to fruit or his current favorite yogurt raisins. If he doesn’t eat a good portion of his dinner he does not get dessert. I leave his dinner on the table for a while in case he had a bad night and if he asks for dessert I tell him he can’t have any because he didn’t eat his dinner, but if he’d like to eat some of his dinner then he can have dessert. This usually does the trick and he will let me feed him what’s on his plate until I’m satisfied and hand over dessert.
These few little changes have made our dinner routine so much happier. I challenge you to try for a week and see if it works for you too!
Cheers and Happy Eating!