Avoiding Mealtime Melees

Here’s some follow up thoughts for Family Time Dinners.

Do your best not to engender ‘mealtime melees’. Mealtimes should be a pleasant experience of family fellowship. There may be some challenges to this as children are growing up. Do your best not to make mealtimes a battleground.

What do you do if your children refuse to eat something? Try to ascertain two things. 

First, determine if they really can’t eat a particular food. Even adults sometimes have difficulty swallowing certain foods. My wife has a hard time eating alfalfa sprouts. 

Secondly, determine if you’ve given them too much to eat. Sometimes parents feed their children a snack or allowed them to drink a glass of milk before dinner and still expect them to eat a full meal. Or you’ve given them an earlier snack, but allowed them to be inactive the rest of the afternoon.

If your children refuse to eat and there is no apparent reason except preference. Then you may want to try the following.

Save the uneaten food. Re-serve the food they did not eat at the next appropriate mealtime. If the child refuses to eat the re-served food, excuse them and re-serve it again at a later meal. Offer the uneaten meal as a snack because they are hungry. 

Eventually, the food will look and taste okay. More importantly, they will learn that they must eat what they are served.

We used this method on our children. The net result is that they are not fussy eaters as adults.

Again, be reasonable and kind. Don’t get angry and fight over the mealtime. Serve appropriate portions, especially with things they say that do not like. Help them to eat what is served.

If you “train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6).

Something to think and pray about …