As a mom, I know how fun dinnertime can be with kids. I also know how a simple meal can easily turn into a full-blown meltdown in a matter of mere seconds. Literally just yesterday I endured the toddler tantrum of the year. I should have been given an award for keeping my cool through most of it, but I guess that’s why I’m called “mom.”
It all started when I had Liam help me make a batch of muffins — a new recipe I’m developing.
He was completely content assisting me throughout the whole mixing, scooping, and baking process. Liam even patiently waited for the muffins to cool. (It may have helped that we were FaceTiming his Iowa cousins). Then lunch rolled around. As I placed the fresh muffin in front of him and started removing the cupcake liner, I realized that the inside was still gooey and uncooked. (I had even checked the doneness with a toothpick before cooling!) So I promptly discarded the muffin and told Liam we had to put the muffins back in the oven to finish baking. Big mistake. My hungry toddler lost it. The next half hour or so was complete with exaggerated sobbing, high-pitched screaming, and a pounding headache. (The headache was mine).
In a desperate attempt to pacify him, I offered him a fruit smoothie (in his favourite Christmas milk glass) which seemed to calm Liam down for a minute. Unfortunately, by the time he got his fully-baked muffin, he was now officially one overly tired toddler. His exhaustion only provoked more tears upon the suggestion that he should consider removing the muffin wrapper before devouring — perish the thought! Thankfully, after a little more distraction (i.e. I told him we could call daddy on his lunch break), Liam eventually settled.
So why did I share this anecdote with you? Well first, to let you know that registered dietitians don’t have perfect eaters and surely have far from perfect mealtimes. We also don’t always handle every meal or snack time flawlessly. In hindsight, I probably should have checked the doneness of the muffin before offering it to him. And I definitely should have had the other part of his meal ready at the same time — instead of using a fruit smoothie as a bribe to settle him down. But in the end, everything turned out okay. Liam calmed down. We both sat and enjoyed a nutritious meal together. I even got a few snuggles with him before his nap time.
The beauty of it is that even if one meal goes haywire, there’s always the next meal or snack to tune up your feeding strategies. Just as habits aren’t formed overnight, healthy eating habits are not broken at a single meal. Tackle each and every meal as a fresh start. So to all those mamas (and dads!) who are feeling worn out from mealtime drama — keep on keeping on!
I want to hear from you! How do YOU survive toddler tantrums at dinnertime?
If your meals have been filled with more drama than dining lately, you are at the right place! Come back next week for the second part of the series, “5 Tips for Avoiding Mealtime Meltdowns," discussing practical strategies I use every day to avoid situations like yesterday's muffin mishap.
Hello, I'm Erin – a follower of Christ, wife, mama of two, and registered dietitian. Welcome to my blog where I write about intentional motherhood, intuitive eating, inspired discipleship, and whatever else I feel like!
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