How to Manage Child Tantrum Related To Smart Phone, TV & Food
I am answering a question I got from a mother by sharing 5 things to keep in mind and what I do to manage my 6 year old son and 9 year old daughter.
Question: My Younger kid does not taste any new dish served during meal time and in any occasions. My elder kid always watches TV while having food. Watch the video to know why.
90% of parents are facing the same problem and the solution are a few simple changes and your parenting troubles are over : )
If this helps… pls forward to other parents who might need some insights to managing their child’s food and device problems.
Leave me a comment about your child, devices and food problems.
FULL VIDEO TRANSCRIPT
In this blog video, I am answering a question from a mom and her question is,
“My younger kid does not taste any new dish served during mealtime and in any occasion. My elder kid always watches TV while having food.”
And I know most of you parents out there, can understand why, or you might even have the same question. It’s a two part question.
Let’s address the first part about food - that my kid does not taste any new food.
1) Lack of choice
Often what happens is, when parents feed their children, they don’t give them a choice. They don’t say, ‘This is the food. Is this what you want to eat? In what quantity do you want to eat? Whether do you want to eat or not?’ – That’s giving them a choice.
Most of the parents want the child to eat the quantity that they want them to eat; the food they want them to eat and the way they want them to eat it. Hence the child feels that he is or she is not in control. So just to get in control, they throw a tantrum saying, ‘I don't want to eat this food’ or ‘I don't want to eat food at all’ even though they are hungry. Then after the mealtime, they will go and binge on some other snack; or they will stay hungry and they will go crazy and make the parents go crazy too!
Now, the mothers often force the kids to eat – they feel, ‘I’ve cooked your favourite food; I have taken so much of work and effort and you are not eating this food!’ That upsets the parents, which follows by yelling and screaming, and the child starts crying.
But the mother still wants the child to eat. She genuinely feels, ‘Oh my God! I don't want my child to go hungry or be malnourished or something!’ So here you just want to give choice to your child. Let the child choose what he/she wants to eat and promise you that your child will eat! Don’t worry! The child will not go hungry.
2) Constant observation
The next one is that the child is observing people around him/ her having choice in food. So your husband would have a choice in food, you will have a choice in food, your in-laws might have a choice in food.. you get the drift. So naturally, the child is like, “Mom I also want choice in food; I also don't like this particular food. It could be fruits, some particular meat or even a vegetable that the child does not want to eat. And you know that's because of observation.
In my family, my children – I have a 6-year-old son and a 9-year-old daughter – we first do not force them to eat. They eat whenever they want to eat; of course, they have to eat during meal times but they eat whatever quantities they want to eat. And by any chance, if they don't like the particular food that is served, very simple ‘Don't eat! You don't get any other food!’ They might not eat sometimes but then they form the habit that they have to eat what is served. Well, sometimes you do give them options, whatever they want to eat – you ask them what they want to eat and you cook it for them and you just ask them to eat.
3) Reinforcement (Don’t)
The last one here is reinforcement. So you begin with giving them a choice, and then make sure they are not observing everybody having a choice in food and the third one is reinforcement. In social gatherings, in marriages or in parties and family gatherings, do not reinforce on your child. What mean by that is, don’t go like, ‘Oh my child does not want to eat this or he will not eat fruits or she does not like this dish!’
Suddenly, your child feels this sense of certainty that, ‘Yeah! Yeah! I don't like this dish!’ So what do you do? You just leave it; let the child eat and if he chooses to eat, he does. If he doesn't, then he doesn't; do not reinforce.
Also often do not seem to cook the food that the child does not like. So then the child will never land up eating that food. So you can cook it, and inspire your child to eat. In our case, we say, ‘You want to try this dish? It’s awesome, it's delicious, and you will like it!’ We give them a morsel and then they eat it. Then he/she likes it and goes ahead and eats it. There he changes that, ‘Okay you know what! I like this food!’
Mission accomplished, eh?
The next part of the question was that the child watches television during eating.
Here I would like to first put the question back to you.
Does the television switch off while mealtimes in your house? Very important!
1) Shut off
If the television is not switching off, then you are automatically conditioning your child that it's okay to watch television while eating. So, first of all, you have to shut television while eating. In my house again we have a thumb rule that the moment we start serving food, preparing and putting the food down, the television has to shut off. Not only television shuts, the computer has to shut off, cell phones have to shut off meaning they have to be put aside! No media, no screens while eating food.
So that is the first thing – you have to shut off the devices. It just trains the child that this is not going to work – television, screens and mobile phones won’t be allowed during mealtimes. I have to eat and focus on my food.
2) Screen time = eating time (Don’t)
The second is I see a lot of parents, moms especially, when they are raising the kid and the child is young, they put the child in front of the screen and then they force feed the child!
Now the child is automatically developing this behaviour. Then the child can only eat while watching TV. As the child grows up, he/she wants some stimulus – a computer or a video game or a YouTube video to eat.
So if you are doing that, I highly encourage you to keep the screen off while eating, yourself and while serving your children or whenever they are eating by themselves. No television should be the thumb rule.
If you do this, I know moms are going, ‘Hey!! Good for you but you don't know my child! He is going to throw a tantrum’. That’s fine, I say, let him/her throw one. Just sit with the child and explain him/her that from now on, this is the rule.
Hope this helps you get over your child feeding and television problems. If you have any questions, post them in the comments below. If you want your questions featured and answered, head on to www.murtazabadri.com and opt-in to receive our newsletters. I hope you have a wonderful time, feeding your child and a peaceful, loving and healthy mealtime!
Till then, Stay Alive, Stay Fearless!
Dream Big, Stay Strong!
And I’ll see you soon in the next video.
Thank you so much for watching!