My 3 year old niece and I spent time in the garden recently, picking veggies for a banquet I was hosting and what amazed me was that as we picked the vegetables, and I asked her, did you try it, she would say YES and then happily put whatever it was in her mouth, chew and say YUM! Even curly parsley..which, even for adults, is a flavour to be acquired!
What I realised in watching her is that there were three things at play – 1. Modelling 2. Interaction. And 3. She knew what her body wants
This little woman that I adore has always known what her body needed….when she was sick and I handed her kombucha, she drank it down, even though it’s a grown up flavour, she knew instinctively it would make her better…like the parsley. I didn’t tell her that it was good for her, she just knew and so she went back for more!
I believe she was happy to munch out on greens because we weren’t sitting at a table forcing her to eat them. We were out in nature, playing, have a great time, enjoying the experience of being together. She was a participant in the process and was subtly distracted by that…enough that she was willing to try everything and not notice if she didn’t really like it.
And I was showing her, through my gestures and my conversation, that things were yum and safe to try and experience…as I picked I would show her how I ate it and express my glee at the flavour.
Kids are soaking it all up…they have short attention spans and are spirited, open beings, we must feed that in them…literally and metaphorically. If you want your kids to eat greens make it fun, interactive, model it and trust and listen to your child as they are guided by their own needs (for the good stuff!).
If I’d followed these things I think I would have a 19 year old step son who wouldn’t avoid green stuff on this plate still…we had many, many arguments about eating his greens or no ice-cream!
As they say – you catch more ants with honey…and modelling, interaction and faith are the sweetest of all when it comes to the green stuff!