I was reminded this week of the importance of trusting our children and being patient. It is not easy at times, especially when the panic of worry sweeps through your dinner table, but it will pay off.
From my years of living abroad, I have come to realise that I have an inconsistent love for salad. There are days that I crave a good salad, which was easy to get in North America, but at times when living abroad, it has been very difficult to get. I have gone months sometimes without eating a raw vegetable due to cultural differences and available food supply. Even now, in Singapore, although there are many salad stores around, I go through spurts of eating salad. Even when I have a salad on our meal menu, many times, I have been the only one at the table eating salad. I was okay with that, as we follow the Division of Responsibility (sDOR) in our house and everyone is allowed to eat what they feel like from the food available on the table.
Last summer, we were in at a restaurant with friends the first time my little one decided to try salad. There was a side salad on my plate, and he decided he wanted to try it. He spat it out, in a matter of fact way that time. No drama, quietly, he spat it in a napkin. In our circuit breaker period, there have been a couple times he has taken salad from the foods available at the table. Occasionally he spits some of it out – a bite he didn’t like the taste of. That’s okay. Sometimes he makes a salad on his plate and only eats a couple bites. That’s also okay. Kids sometimes have to take baby steps toward eating a new food. From allowing it on the table, to allowing a little to be on their plate, to taking a small bite which they may spit out, to eating a small amount, it can be a process that takes time and patience.
Often I hear parents worried their children will not eat a variety of foods. It is tough on some parents when night after night their child only eats bread or pasta or rice. Modelling is important, so keep following the sDOR and enjoy your meals. It takes patience, but it will pay off.