Ways to Make Supper Time Harmonious

Supper time isn't always easy when you have kids. Conflicting tastes in food, arguing siblings and end of the day exhaustion combine to make this the toughest meal for most families. Supper time troubles are compounded when your child is going through the terrible twos; temper tantrums and a fondness for the word "no" can make supper time even more unpleasant. 

A picky eater is a common problem in households, especially when a toddler is learning how to communicate and negotiate. A child in the terrible twos may refuse his supper simply because he can, because he wants something else or because he is afraid to try something new. The simplest way to deal with this problem is to not give in to making him another meal. A child will eat when he's hungry (and definitely won't starve himself).  If you get into the habit of making a separate dinner every time your child refuses a meal, you'll end up making multiple meals regularly. Sometimes a child needs to try a new food several times before he can truly decide if he likes it. Offer a variety of foods, even those he has turned down in the past, to give your child choices at dinner. Also, make sure that your child hasn't had a snack too late in the day. Otherwise he may not be hungry for supper.

Similarly, a tired toddler is one who is more likely to make meal time difficult for his family. When your child hasn't gotten enough rest, he'll let you know by being especially cranky and irritable at the supper table. Make naps a regular part of your child's routine to ensure peace at supper.

To keep your child from acting out during supper for the sake of attention, don't let him feel left out.  Interacting with your child during supper can keep him from throwing food just so that Dad will react. Keep in mind though that the act of throwing food is quite normal among toddlers. It is a phase that should pass, but that doesn't mean that you have to sit idly by while your floor is destroyed. Sometimes a toddler who throws food is letting you know that he is done with his meal. In that case you can clean him up and let him down from the table. If he still wants to be a part of supper, he'll learn that throwing food signals to you that he's no longer hungry and should stop.

Supper can be a peaceful time for a family to reconnect at the end of the day. Be patient with your toddler as she learns the appropriate way to act and communicate at the supper table. Your persistence will pay off.. 

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