"The Kids in my Kitchen" is part of an ongoing series where I blog a recipe the kids and I made together. Why do I think it's important for my kids to be in my kitchen with me? Read this."
Today will be a busy day in my kitchen, but not with my kids. Today I am busy filling a large cheesecake order, one that my kids cannot help with. So instead of blogging about something we made together, I''m going to show you one of their Christmas gifts, to be used in the kitchen.
On a Pre Christmas shopping trip with Jodi, we stopped into Homesense near the end of our day and she showed these to me. The timing couldn't have been more perfect, as we had just had a long conversation about the eating habits of children, and how my children, especially Jack, are picky eaters. That every trick in the book comes out at the dinner table with him some nights, and its exhausting. And the question: Do I make him sit and eat, and not leave the table until he's finished? An expectation most of my generation grew up with, and a practice I do not agree with in my heart, or do I let him have free reign at dinner time, eating as little as he pleases, which quite often means nothing at all, with no real consequences other than "anything you eat for the rest of the evening MUST be healthy"? Another practice that, when at the dinner table and expecting my 6 year old to eat, I also wasn't really keen about?
I am not comfortable making them sit until their plate is cleared, bribing them with the promise of dessert, threatening them with the loss of a privelege if they don't eat, or serving this same meal to them again and again at each successive meal until it is gone. But, I want them to eat, and eat well. I also am trained in and facilitate a program for preschoolers and their families about Cooking in the kitchen, Canada's Food Guide, Healthy Choices, Trying New Foods and Proper Serving Sizes for Children. The heart of this program, it's central premise has to do with Ellyn Satter's Division of Responsibilty in Feeding: the idea that parents are responsible for providing what, when and where the child eats, and the child is responsible for whether, and how much they eat.
But I spend money on food, I spend time preparing it for them to eat, and do not enjoy seeing it wasted, over and over again.
Anyways, so Jodi shows me these. They are plates with dividers in them, as well as a cup, and a a spinner.
So its a game, about eating. Hmmm.....
The spinner has all these different wedges on it.
Wedge with the picture of the Train: "Take One Bite". So whatever is in the train area of the plate, you take one bite of it during that turn. One of the wedges on the spinner instructs you to take one bite of something from each area during that turn. Another one lets you choose what you would like to take a bite of.
I had never seen anything like this before, and knowing how my kids love to play games, and compete against eachother, I thought this could work. I was also banking that Makenna would love it and so then Jack would feel the need to do it simply because she was doing it.
And it really has worked well. Makenna was very excited about this and is the official "judge" making sure both she and Jack do what they are supposed to do. They go back and forth taking turns, or sometimes they make it into a race to see who can finish each area of the plate first. I often use these for bigger meals like Roast Beef or Roast Chicken, and the traditional "Meat, Potatoes and Veggies" meals, as well as when trying out new recipes they want to automatically reject simply because they are new. They brought these to their Grandma and Papa's house for Christmas Lunch and my neices were all excited about them too.
Now, these plates aren't miracle workers or anything, we still have plenty of struggles, but I do have to say, these have helped, quite a bit. You can find them on Amazon.ca, but I must say, I only paid $10/set at Homesense. They did have those red stickers on them though, the ones they usually put on the items they really want to get rid of, so I don't know if you can still find them there or not.
Here's a cute Princess one from Amazon.ca
Remember...if you have swagbucks, you could cash them in for Amazon.ca gift cards, like I do, and get this at a nice discount, or even free!
Sometimes we have to get a bit creative with our picky eaters. I am not asking my kids to lick their plates clean, all I ask is that they at least try new foods and eat something. Some days they eat like birds, some days they eat like horses. I figure (hope) it all balances out in the end. This has made it fun for them, and taken a bit of pressure Jeff and I feel about getting them to eat, away. Some days it works, some days it doesn't...I just keep telling myself that the little food Jack eats now, he will make up for 10 years from now.
4 hours ago