Why dinner sucks more than The Lego Movie*

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We’ve all been there. As soon as you announce dinner time, all hell breaks loose! WE want the kids to eat a balanced meal with lots of vegetables. THEY want chicken nuggets and chips. There must be a middle ground, right? Nobody can face that. Every. Single. Night.

A little while ago I came across this bloke, John Rosemond. Mr John certainly has some strong opinions on the best way to get our kids to eat dinner. Here’s his 3-step plan:

  1. Fix the picky eater what you want him to eat for breakfast and lunch. If he does not eat it, wrap it or toss it. Do not allow him to snack between meals, even if he’s eaten nothing all day. You have to stop wanting him to eat. He will live, I assure you. 

  2. Prepare the evening meal with no consideration of said picky eater’s food preferences. On his plate, put one level teaspoon of each food, as in one teaspoon of roast beef, one teaspoon of mashed potatoes with a few drops of gravy (“He loves mashed potatoes and gravy!”), and one teaspoon of broccoli. The rule then becomes: When the child has eaten everything on his plate, he may have seconds of anything, and the second helping of whatever in this case, mashed potatoes and gravy can be as large as his eyes are big.

  3. It will take a week or so and much complaining and maybe even pitiful wailing in the interim, but he will eventually begin eating the green, weird-tasting thing. At that point, begin slowly increasing the portion size of the green thing, but do not increase the portion of the thing(s) he loves.

I’m not quite as hard-core as Mr John, though I have at some points been quite prepared to chuck all the food out and let everybody fend for themselves. But then again, the thought of my kids eating nothing else all day really freaks me out. Sure, logically I know they won’t starve to death in just 24 hours. To be honest, it’s the incessant whining that would come along with that decision which totally puts me off.

I prefer a simpler solution: to understand that kids, in general, are fussy. Ours are not the only ones, I promise! I put something on their plate that they like and then ask them to choose something from the salad bowl. The fact they eat SOMETHING from the salad bowl is my choice. WHAT they choose is theirs. One son always chooses carrot. The other, a lettuce leaf. I don’t care, everybody wins.

And occasionally they can have chicken nuggets and chips. And I will, too.

What do you think of Mr John’s theory? Good advice, or too harsh?

*Actually, I haven’t seen The Lego Movie, but it holds absolutely zero appeal for me, even in the teeny tiny preview I have seen. My seven-year-old son, however, loved it. But then, he’s also pretty good at dinner… 🙂

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