It’s a common parental frustration. The child who will reject anything but Vegemite sandwiches at home, happily tucks into multiple serves of chicken chow mein or pumpkin and pea risotto at daycare. ‘But whyyyy?’ wail the parents.
Rebecca Sleeman, Director of Artemis Early Learning, offers some answers. “Peer pressure can make a big difference. Our children all sit at a table together – they know what to expect, and they feel comfortable eating what their friends are eating.
“Sometimes parents, in trying to ensure their child eats healthily, push a bit too hard and the child pushes back, which is different to their experience in a day care setting.”
So, short of having twenty kids over for every mealtime, what can frazzled and frustrated parents do to improve their children’s willingness to eat healthy at home with any fuss?
To help encourage healthy home eating, Rebecca recommends:
- Eat together as a family – use this as a chance to model good food behaviours. Children are much more likely to eat vegetables if they see adults eating them.
- Food always tastes better off mum or dad’s plate, so try offering them some of yours.
- Involve children in the cooking process – even a very small child loves to help stir or hand you things.
- Try not to get into a power struggle over how much they eat, or even if they eat.
With the increased quality of food being served to children at services like Artemis, many parents have even started to suspect or realise that their children probably eat better than they do! To accommodate this peculiarity, a new service will be rolled out at Artemis later this year.
“After some positive feedback from time-challenged parents, we’ve decided to introduce a food takeaway service,” says Rebecca. “Parents will be able to pick up pre-prepared food when they pick up their children, so it’s fresh and ready to eat for dinner or saved for another time. The same chefs and cooks who feed their children during the day will also prepare healthy meals that cater for the whole family for dinner as well.
“We’ll capitalise on fresh, seasonal ingredients, so parents can be sure it’s nutritious for all the family. And when we say all, we mean all. The food can be prepared to suit the developmental needs of any age (i.e. puree for babies …or Granma!). Parents can pick from that day’s menu which would have not just the children’s options but some appetising adult meals.”
And in a further win for tired, hungry parents dealing with their tired, always-hungry kids on the way home, Artemis also plans to offer some healthy ‘car snacks’ with these meals, just to tide them over until dinner.
Convenient, fresh, healthy food with no extra stops on the way home. And maybe, just maybe, those kids who moan they don’t want mum or dad’s cooking that night, will be satisfied knowing that they are still only a bite away from the delicious food they happily devour daily!
To learn more about Artemis Early Learning, or to speak with Rebecca or Tiffany about their food services, visit Artemis Early Learning or call 02 6239 3927.
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