New York Times bestseller author Jo Frost, a.k.a. Supernanny, has some excellent advice for parents. While I don’t agree with everything she does I believe her ability to capsulate her philosophy into her TOP TEN RULES is useful.
Here are her TOP TEN RULES as applied to eating and mealtime issues with young children (pages 142-143 of her book Supernanny)
1. PRAISE AND REWARDS
Praise and encouragement are the best rewards. Don’t wait for exceptionally good behavior—praise the good moments when they happen. Don’t use snacks as bribes. Don’t praise a child for eating second helpings.
My rule is: Encouragement is vital. Praise good behavior and character—not talent.
Stick to the same rues and follow them through. Make sure you and your partner are consistent. If you insist on “three more spoonfuls,” don’t change your mind under pressure and reduce it to two, or one. Don’t gie a child a snac if he hasn’t eaten his eal—that’ a mixed message and a half!
My rule is: Be consistent in your expectations and your consequences.
Don’t shift mealtimes around drastically. Meals are a cornerstone of your routine. When children are older, you can be a little more flexible. Half an hour earlier or later won’t hurt.
My rule is: Almost all children thrive on routines.
A set mealtime is an important boundary. So are agreed-upon rules for sitting at the table and basic behavior. Boundaries help you to take the emotional heat out of mealtimes.
My rule is: Start early while children are toddlers to teach them expected behaviors related to meal times. Kindly enforce those “rules” at home and away consistently.
Don’t discipline a child for not eating. Do discipline for unacceptable behavior at mealtimes, such as hitting, throwing food or refusing to sit at the table. Use the Naughty Step Technique.**
** Also known as Time-Out. The key to its effectiveness is consistency.
My rule is: Use misbehaviors and bad table manners as opportunities to teach. If behavior seems repeated or intentional remove the child from the table (a.k.a. Time Out) for a short time until she’s ready to behave nicely.
Give plenty of advance notice when a meal is coming up so your child has a chance to prepare for the change in activity. Don’t expect her to settle down immediately at the table if she has been running round the garden. Allow a period for her to calm down first. Give an advance warning if she has been naughty, so she has the chance to correct her behavior.
My rule is: Give children 5 minutes or so advanced notice of mealtime. Then get everyone seated, still and quiet before you begin the meal. Holding hands around the table and asking a short, simple blessing on the meal is an excellent cue that it’s now time to be quiet and respectful and enjoy our family meal.
When your child has behaved badly at the table, explain that the behavior is unacceptable and why. Don’t however offer complex explanations to toddlers. The reasoning will just sail over their heads.
My rule is: Begin teaching table manners and rules when children are young. For toddlers and preschoolers, the shorter and simpler your explanations the better. A simple, “That’s our family rule” or “That’s the polite way to do it” will suffice. As children grow older you can offer short and simple explanations about good manners and respect for other people at the table.
Ignore passing food fads. Fussy eating is about attention-seeking—ignore it. Keep offering variety, and don’t allow your kids to write their own menus. At the same time, don’t make your dislikes their dislikes.
My rule is: Offer them a variety of foods. Require them to taste new things. Don’t offer substitutes for foods they dislike. Try to have something on the menu that the child does like (other then dessert.)
Encourage your toddlers to feed themselves, even if it takes longer and makes a mess. Teach them to say “Please” and “Thank you.” Involve older ids in setting the table ad other simple tasks.
My rule is: Offer toddlers and preschoolers finger foods, or foods cut into pickupable pieces. You are encouraging independence. Definitely involve preschoolers and up in preparing for meals and cleaning up afterwards.
Mealtimes should be fun and sociable occasions. Try to eat together as a family as much as possible.
My rule is: Definitely eat together as a family at least once each day. Use the time as an opportunity to teach children how to carry on conversations and how to treat each other with respect. Relax. Every meal doesn’t have to be gourmet or perfectly balanced. If preparing simple meals makes the event more pleasant for everyone, DO IT!
Another picture book (almost) review by Jean Matthew Hall
Seashells, Crabs and Sea Stars is a nonfiction picture book plus more. It was written by Christiane Kump Tibbits and illustrated by Linda Garrow. It was published by Northwords Press in 1996. Sadly Northwords Press closed about ten years ago.
Seashells, Crabs and Sea Stars is one of Northwords Take-Along Guides. It is a wonderful nonfiction book filled with gorgeous illustrations. It’s a perfect book if you’re planning a trip to the beach—any beach. It is colorful, interesting and fun.
Seashells, Crabs and Sea Stars is packed with kid-friendly information about creatures that live in and near the sea. It also contains fun, simple crafts for kids to make. Great for kids to read on their way to the beach, or to use as a guide while they stroll the beach searching for treasures.
Though Northwords Press no longer publishes their Take-Along Guides you can buy them from online dealers. The set includes a dozen titles about snakes, birds, wildflowers, rocks, rabbits and more. If the little readers in your life enjoy nature they will LOVE these books.
So will you!
You can find the list of titles here and at other online book sellers. Some of the titles are available in Kindle Editions.
You can also purchase most of the titles here.
In my opinion these guides are great vacation books wherever you are headed.
With honor and appreciation to the Moms and Dads who serve (or have served) our noble country in uniform. I thank you. What greater example of patriotism can your children ever see?
From The Poet Patriot
Through the pledge, through the anthem,
© 09-27-2017 Roger W Hancock FlagPoems.PoetPatriot.com
Another Picture Book Review by Jean Matthew Hall
It is the height of summer in my area. So, I’m still reviewing picture books about summer fun. Here is one of my favorites.
I love the main character in There Might Be Lobsters. Sukie reminds me of myself as a child. I was never very keen on the beach or any bodies of water. I liked the warm, dry sand under my feet, thank you very much! Sukie seems to share my philosophy.
She imagines all sorts of scary things at the beach—including pinchy lobsters, UNTIL…
You’ll have to read this adorable tale of love, courage and friendship to find out what that UNTIL was.
The soft images add much to the themes of the story, while still transporting us to a sweltering day at the beach, in my opinion.
This is another great read for a hot summer afternoon.
You can find more of Carolyn Crimi’s books here.
For the dads who are struggling with their role, please watch this short film. It is 15 minutes long, but it has the potential to change your life–and the lives of your family.
If it speaks to you, or if you think it will speak to someone you love, you can order the full-length DVD here.
Another picture book review by Jean Matthew Hall.
In the summer many of us turn our thoughts toward beaches, pools, parks and lakeside vacations. But what do you do in the city on hot summer days?
Hot City follows a pair of siblings through a lazy day of sizzling sidewalks, snow-cones and city buses to the cooooolest place in town—which happens to be one of my favorite places, too.
If you and your kiddos are city dwellers you’ll especially enjoy this little journey with two self-reliant children. If you live in the suburbs or in a rural area you might enjoy reading Hot City and then discussing how your summer agenda is different from that of the main characters in this picture book.
I enjoyed the rhythmic text. But, the illustrations did not really strike a chord with me. It’s a good thing that not everyone shares my tastes, or what a boring world this would be! Discussing Christie’s style might open up a great conversation between you and your kids about art.
“The rain fell, the rivers rose, and the winds blew and pounded that house. Yet it didn’t collapse, because its foundation was on the rock.” Matthew 7:25 HCSB
The most important “career” we will ever pursue is that of being a parent. Over my 50 years of doing that job God has engrained some foundational truths into my philosophy of parenting. I’d like to share 12 foundational principles with you—the principles upon which most, I hope, of my daily, in-the-trenches decisions were made.
I recommend the book Follow the Leader: a Biblical Plan for Raising Godly Children Rev. Rick Calloway for guidance in becoming a godly parent/leader in your home.
Another Picture Book Review by Jean Matthew Hall
Time for another picture book about having fun in the summer. Around Our Way on Neighbors’ Day was written by my friend, Tameka Fryer Brown. It was illustrated by Charlotte Riley-Webb, and published by Abrams in 2010.
I love the happy rhythm of the poetry in this book, and that the illustrations complement the music of the text beautifully with bright colors, bold strokes and lots of movement.
Around Our Way on Neighbors’ Day celebrates family and friendship in a noisy, busy urban neighborhood. The neighbors share games, music, friendly debates in the barber shop and a variety of ethnic dishes on Neighbor’s Day.
It’s a bouncy, upbeat book that your youngsters are sure to enjoy on a hot, stuffy summer afternoon (A cold glass of lemonade would make it even better!)
It might give you the hot idea to organize a Neighbor’s Day for your neighborhood, too. Like this book, it might be a fun way to celebrate your community, diversity and friendship!
My gift to all of you DADS out there.