Its always inspiring sitting in front of an audience who are there to engage with others and share the common goal of working towards being their very best self. I am lucky in my line of work that I am able to do this regularly and earlier this month being a speaker at the Mum Society brunch was one such time. I was honoured to be a speaker because as a mother myself, the Mum Society philosophy of inspiring conversations, unconditional support and building confidence in others deeply resonates with me.
An underlying theme of the Mum Society events is honesty, I believe in being honest and showing vulnerability. At the event I spoke about my IVF journey and the deep depression that came with it. Through receiving psychological support, committing to the practice of meditation along with building a solid support network I was able to turn the situation around for the positive. The silver lining of this experience has been a shift in not only my mindset and outlook but also parenting style. It reinforced to me the importance of not micromanaging children and being ok with vulnerability as a parent. An important lesson I have learnt as a parent is sharing triumphs and failures in the hope it may help another parent out. An area a lot of parents can feel overwhelmed by is fussy eating. I spoke to this topic at large and here I share some tips I have learnt along the way and am still learning day to day.
Being aware of unsaid dialogue
A key factor in helping children develop a healthy relationship with food and be comfortable around food is the unsaid dialogue between child and parent. It’s not always what is said that creates the environment but the energy and messages being transferred through body language. It’s incredibly important to not add stress to the situation. Try to approach meal times with a sense of calm and remove stress from the situation, food is not fun or a happy experience if it involves stress. When feeling stressed, take a step back and breathe in, be in the moment and do the best you can in that moment.
Being in tune with your child’s hunger
Keep a food diary and take note of when your child eats the most food, do they consume a large amount of food at breakfast and then graze all day? Or is dinnertime when most food is eaten? Prioritise making that meal the most nutrient dense, as this is when they are likely to get most food in.
Involve children in food prep
Involving children is not only a great exercise for developing fine motor skills but also helps to get children engaged and comfortable with food. I understand this sounds a lot easier than it actually is in reality. However, it’s all about picking your moment. If you come home stressed and worn out from a days work, that is not the right time. Allocate a night or two each month on days you are most likely to be in right frame of mind.
Engaging the senses
There is developing research in the area of sensory factors and food selectivity. Assisting children with sensory processing can play an important role in encouraging a balanced diet and flexibility with food.
Activities to help children familiarise and be more comfortable with food senses include:
- Put together a platter of foods one sweet, salty, sour, bitter & savoury – ask children to taste each one and ask what they like and dislike about each flavour
- Ask children to close their eyes and smell food, trying to guess that it is or what sort of food eg sweet, savoury, fruit, vegetable, herbs
- Ask children what eating foods sounds like, for example the crunch of a carrot or boiling pasta
- Take children to the markets and show them the range of fruits/vegetables/herbs etc – ask children “what does the food smell like?” “what does the food feel like?”
To learn more about upcoming Mum Society events and watch a clip taken from my talk click here