You are the parent. They are the child.
Easier said than done, right? Not anymore! As an uncle of four beautiful girls, I have been implementing my method of parent-child/adult-child empowerment for a while now and it works so easily that I had to share it with you, my wonderful followers. A key element in getting children to listen to their parents is making the child believe he or she is in control of their meal choices. Taking my cue from the kids, I set them up for success without them even knowing it. The minute our family walks into a restaurant, the girls have already decided that they are going to order from the Kids’ Menu. Fully aware of their plan and fully aware of what garbage monopolizes most kids’ menus, I take the adult role in the situation and give them parameters. As the adult, that’s my job. I’m the grown-up, I know better. I’m also the health nut, so I know more! (mwah-ha-ha)
I find the three best choices on the Kids’ Menu and tell the girls to choose from those three. They are able to choose what they want, feel like they are making their own choices and I feel a little bit better about them consuming less than healthy food. As they have gotten older and have become more educated about healthy foods, we sometimes turn the menus into scavenger hunts to see who kind find the top three healthiest choices offered. The winner gets a prize after we leave the restaurant, and no, it isn’t dessert. Starting non-food rewards early with kids is a very helpful way to set them up for less weight-related issues later in life.
More helpful tips that make their choices better:
1. No double-fried. Meaning, if they get fried chicken they don’t also get french fries; they choose a vegetable. If they want the fries, their chicken is grilled. No double-fried.
2. Try to be conscious of what you say about food around your kids. If you don’t like vegetables or other healthy items, don’t try to condition your kids to hate them too. Children are very impressionable and want to be just like the people they adore. If you don’t like veggies or seafood or other “interesting” choices and you make it out to be gross or nasty, most likely your kids will assume the same opinion without having ever tried the food in question.
As parents and contributing adults, we have responsibilities to our children to set them up for success as they grow, reach adulthood and raise their own families. What kinds of values and habits do you want to be responsible for giving them?
Give my method a try the next time you’re out with a child and see just how flawlessly it works! If you try it, comment on this post so you can share your experience!
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