Conquering mealtime and bedtime battles

Do you have mealtime and bedtime battles every day?
Here are a few things to think about:

You arent alone. Most families have regular dining table and bedroom battles. This awareness may not improve your situation, but it might help in making you less frustrated and more confident that these battles are commonplace and can be successfully won.

Do something different. Offer a ‘fruit lunch with apples, bananas, strawberries and oranges. Add a bowl of roasted nuts. Or serve cake and vegetable cutlets for lunch. Doing something new gives parent and child some stress relief. This can help break the habit of fighting at mealtimes. You can easily find ‘different meals that are healthy by including different forms of milk, eggs, nuts and fruits.

Of course this cant be done every day, but when your child receives such indulgence, it could create a better attitude at regular mealtimes.

If your child makes a fuss about going to bed on time, try putting up a tent in the living room, or taking her to sleep on the sofa once in a while.

Stop fighting. If your child refuses to eat, dont argue. Just say, ‘Ok and state the options. You may want to tell your child where to get food when hungry, or that he/she needs to wait until the next mealtime.

There isnt a single way to eliminate home battles, as you probably know. But its essential to remain cool, and try different solutions. Sooner or later, youll hit on the right one.

Add excitement to routine. Get your five-year-old to snuggle into a bedcover, imagining there are cuddly animals all around. Create a short story to go with imaginative play.

Invite friends over for lunch, or go on a picnic nearby. Again, this cant be done every day, but an occassional picnic or party will improve attitudes towards food. If your child is interested, get him/her to cook meals or snacks for the family with your help. Most kids are excited about what they make and will eat it more easily than what you make and put on the table.

Increase physical activity. A sharp increase in physical activity can help children eat and sleep better. This sounds simple, but fitting more physical activity into the daily routine isnt always easy.

Offering new ideas and challenges like skipping 100 times without a break and trying to break ones own record (or that of a sibling) can help.

Dance, martial arts and sports classes provide regular workouts, and also improve the overall health, skills and confidence of children.

– Sangeetha N

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