Every stage of parenting has its challenges, even when it comes to food. I can still vividly recall the painful breastfeeding struggles and maddening dinner table tantrums of years gone by. But my boys are now 7 and 11, and I’m happy to say that in many ways, feeding them is getting easier as they’re getting older. I’ve especially noticed this with my older son, who’s now a middle schooler. Here’s how feeding a tween is easier around here:
He’s hungry. Though your grocery bill may get higher, an increased appetite absolutely works in your favor: As the appetite increases, so does the willingness to eat what’s served. My son is more likely to eat what’s on his dinner plate (even if he doesn’t love it) simply because he’s hungry.
He wants to be “grown-up”. I mentioned in my recent post How To Ditch The Kids Menu that I talk with my kids about how tastes change as we get older–and that liking more complicated foods and flavors is a sign that you’re growing up. My older son has really embraced this. He now likes spicier foods and is more receptive to trying some new things, most recently Indian cuisine.
He’s more independent. He can make his own snack, blend together his own smoothie, or scramble his own eggs in the morning. Sure, he still prefers to be waited on by mom. But he’s so much more capable, and that’s so helpful to me.
He gets it. As my son learns about biology and physiology in school, he understands better how the body works–and how food affects the body. He’s concerned about fueling well so he can grow taller and stronger and feel good. We can also have more complex conversations about food, ingredients, and eating habits. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t love the taste of Doritos and Sprite. But he can make more thoughtful decisions about what he eats.
He’s grateful. By now, he understands that cooking dinner takes time and work–and that turning up your nose at it (or, worse, saying something disparaging about it) just isn’t a nice thing to do. So while he may politely pick at something or explain (in helpful ways) why he doesn’t like a recipe, he doesn’t reject dishes before trying them. He’s even been known to give me a hug and thank me for making dinner.
But it’s not all unicorns and rainbows around here. Stay tuned for next week’s post: How Feeding A Tween Is HARDER!
For those of you with teens and tweens, is feeding your kids easier now? Tell me in the comments!
Frustrated by meal time? Click here to get my free e-book 16 Game Changing Tips For Feeding Kids.