Another Mealtime Misery

Here we go again. It’s nearly suppertime and I have no idea what I’m going to make. Just another decision for poor ‘ole mom to make in her million decisions a day. What difference though right? No one eats what I make anyway, or if they do, it’s because I’ve made a different meal for everyone. I’m totally over it.

Enter, genius idea and a freebie to help you make it happen.

A Meal Planning Activity for Your Picky Eaters!

*This post contains affiliate links which if used cost you nothing extra, but a small percentage comes back to me to support more learning! You’re welcome to check out my privacy policy or reach out to me directly with questions anytime!*

Here is an amazing printable freebie activity to help you plan ahead for meal time and involve the kids in the process - one less big decision to make in coming up with another meal idea and provide an incredible learning experience at the same time! #learningathome #mealtimestress #pickyeaters #toddler #preschooler #mealtimemisery

Here is an amazing printable freebie activity to help you plan ahead for meal time and involve the kids in the process - one less big decision to make in coming up with another meal idea and provide an incredible learning experience at the same time! #learningathome #mealtimestress #pickyeaters #toddler #preschooler #mealtimemisery #kindergarten #firstgrade #home #cooking #meals #easy #fun #educational #culturallearning #passport #flags #dinner #tips #recipes

Picky Eating Preschooler – Inspiration for Creation

 

Little Bee, my former superstar eater, has recently thrown me a curve ball in opting to have particular preferences when it comes to what she will see on her plate. Once favorite meals have been met with an upturned nose and try as I may, she just won’t see my side of the pleading. Sound familiar?

 

Avoiding Mealtime Stress

 

She will eventually eat whatever is there because we run a tight ship of “that’s what’s for dinner” at my house as ice cream, her current request (morning, noon and night) is not one of the core offerings at Maison Jessica. I don’t force her to eat anything if she really doesn’t want to, because I come from a background of complex and negative thoughts around eating and don’t want the same for her. I encourage her as much as my patience can handle, to try a bite of everything, working the angles of: it’s good for you, it will help you grow, Mommy made it especially for you, and all the others I know you’ve tried too. I want her to appreciate meal time for the slow moments and colorful food, the conversation, shared time and increased responsibility and involvement in the family, not to create a scenario of stress in all of us and potentially disordered relationship with food (read more about an amazing documentary on what our young girls and boys face from media pressure here). But, I’m also not going to serve goldfish crackers for supper (every night). Those are for me, after everyone goes to bed. They pair with a Sauvignon Blanc beautifully. Just kidding… maybe.

Is Your Child Heading to Kindergarten soon?!

Looking over at that amazing child of yours, thinking of slipping the straps of a backpack far too big for their still tiny shoulders as you send them off to kindergarten for the first time, armed with the perfectly packed lunch and all the love in your heart; what a milestone!

Well, Mama. I can help you prepare for this amazing adventure.

In a FREE email course, I walk you through

the 5 MOST IMPORTANT steps to preparing your child for kindergarten.

Help for Dealing with Picky Eaters

Now I can’t promise I have the “perfect” solution, because kids are crazy hard to predict. I can’t promise that everyone will eat everything but I do find that having little ones involved in what they are eating is a HUGE help. When I was running the daycare, having everyone play a part in planning and creating the meal went a long way in having them eat it, even if it was normally not something they would try. Plus having tiny helpers in the kitchen makes for a really amazing learning experience. Which is where my amazing idea (and freebie for you) was born.

My first step was to get Little Bee more involved in making her meals, from start to finish. After doing a lot of research in how to best approach my new issue at mealtime I came to discover amazing benefits in having the kitchen be a place for hands on learning as well as supporting the issues I was having with my little sous chef.

 

20 Benefits of Having Children Help in the Kitchen

(click the links within the list for more great activities and freebies related to the topic!)

  1. creates a connection to varieties of foods
  2. increased vocabulary in talking about foods using descriptive language
  3. increased literacy and comprehension skills; reading and following directions
  4. using their senses in learning – so important (see post here)
  5. math and science experience in measuring and pouring, the reactions of ingredients mixing and changing (STEAM)
  6. increased imagination – using what they know to build upon and create new meal ideas and recipes
  7. learning life skills, cutting, sharing, sorting and of course cooking skills
  8. connections to healthy food and healthy body
  9. taking part in something the whole family benefits from
  10. learning responsibility as a member of the family (awesome post here)
  11. fine motor development
  12. hand eye coordination development
  13. wonderful connection with family time (shared cooking experience) creates an environment where conversations naturally occur. 
  14. learning about meal planning, budgeting, buying and collection food and materials
  15. seeing the connection in processes (what starts as ingredients and efforts, ends up in a beautiful meal – cause and effect)
  16. increased self esteem through learning a new skill and developing it, so that everyone benefits
  17. sensory experience (lots of ideas to support that here)
  18. more likely to to eat what they have taken part in creating (even more so if taking part in choosing, growing, and cultivating the food)
  19. learning about where food comes from and how it can be used in different ways
  20. learning about family traditions in the kitchen

Bonus Benefit: It’s fun!! and encourages learning through play!

Mapping Out a Plan to Make This A Positive Experience for All of Us

I started to work with what I know. I know Little Bee is just like all her friends in that she loves to learn in as hands-on approach as possible. She loves to be involved and she loves to take part in decisions that impact everyone. She’s a take charge kinda gal, and so long as I support the charge she is taking, it’s all good with me.

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Meal Planning Ahead While Inviting Learning Through Play

I built out an activity that can have us planning a few meals for the week and makes a big deal out of the whole experience from start to finish, plus takes a little weight off of my shoulders in coming up with another great idea. With the freebie I share with you, you can print out a Learning Passport and a few flags to get you started on your own journey to the end of mealtime misery.

Having your littles pick a flag out of an envelope or bowl, you can start the experience of learning a little bit more about the place of choice.

Of course there are endless activities that can be paired with this and I’ll build on them soon in another post, but for now, let’s focus on this one – you can download your own Learning Passport Activity by clicking the button below.

Here is an amazing printable freebie activity to help you plan ahead for meal time and involve the kids in the process - one less big decision to make in coming up with another meal idea and provide an incredible learning experience at the same time! #learningathome #mealtimestress #pickyeaters #toddler #preschooler #mealtimemisery

What We Use to Make Helping Easier and Safer for Children in the Kitchen

The Reality of Having Kids Help in the Kitchen

Sure, it’s going to be messy, it’s going to take longer, you’re going to have to watch every move because it isn’t a traditional “place to play” but it’s so very worth all the benefits and more. Creating interests early lead to lifelong skills and lifelong interest in healthy eating and connection with family and self care. Start with what you know they can do; pour from a cup, stir with a spoon, use a butter knife to spread peanut butter on toast, and then build their skills from there as they watch and learn from you. Although it’s tricky to hand over the process now when they are so young, these are the stepping stones for increased responsibility and self confidence (read more about that here), those skills that are critical long after the moments of wiping up spilled flour on the kitchen floor.

 

I’d love to know what you think of the Learning Passport and what amazing recipes your family creates with the passport inspiration!

 

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