Gathering around the table to share food, stories and laughter can be a very enjoyable experience. But mealtime can be a stressful time if you’re under the 2-bite microscope. What’s the 2-bite microscope? It’s what I call it when parents’ entire interaction with their kids is about the food - how much they have or haven’t eaten. As a parent it’s easy to fall into this trap. After all, you’re concerned about your child’s nutrition.
You’ll know if you’ve fallen into the 2-bite microscope trap if you catch yourself telling your child how many more bites they need to eat.
Time and again I’ve seen that kids who are under the 2-bite microscope don’t eat well. There’s just too much pressure. It seems paradoxical, but the more you back off, the better they’ll eat.
When I say back off, I don’t mean silent meal times. Or, leaving your child alone at the table. What I mean is being good company. Have pleasant conversations. Yes, that includes having pleasant conversations with your partner too – your child doesn’t have to be the centre of your attention for every second of the meal.
What to talk about? Choose any topic except the food you’re eating. One of my favourites is to play good thing, bad thing. This game is also known by many other names. But, what it involves is everyone at the table taking turns telling about the best and worst things about their day. Even preschoolers love playing this game. And you’ll connect as a family.
When kids enjoy being at the family table, they’ll eat better. Period.