WAZE has changed my marriage. Instead of fighting with me about directions, my husband now fights with WAZE.
GPS. I’m a big fan. Before Waze, we used whatever software was built into our car. It wasn’t very accurate and it was blind to traffic. Not Waze. This little app helps us dodge and weave our way around the city, adapting to traffic patterns in real time. (No, this is not a paid endorsement. And I’ll get to how Waze is connected to eating in a moment.)
The thing I appreciate most about Waze is knowing, before I leave the parking lot, what the basic plan is for the drive. I used to just follow the directions step-by-step but I found after awhile that it was useful to see the big picture.
Most parents don’t have a plan for teaching their kids to eat right. They need a “Waze.”
Kids refuse to eat what you serve. They gag at the mere sight of peas. There are too many parties to attend. And what’s the plan when that sweet grandma in the grocery store offers your child a chocolate-chip cookie? Don’t scoff. That happened to me. It was a big dilemma: cookie/no cookie; mean mom/nice mom; friendly, fellow shopper/crazy nut case; sweet, tasty treat/poison leading to instant death. What would you do? I let my daughter have the cookie.
When you don’t have the route planned out you have to negotiate each food encounter anew. Each food decision is made independently. It’s like winging it and hoping that each turn in your car will bring you closer to the park.
Does this sound familiar? You start out with a clear idea of what nutritious foods you should give your children and then you modify it based upon whether you like that particular food (it’s hard to make someone eat something you don’t like) and then you modify it even further if your child is begging, screaming, or otherwise throwing a fit for something else.
The last thing you do is a final gut-check to decide if you can rationalize it. If it is something like pretzels you say to yourself, “Well, at least it is better than a lot of other snacks.” If it is something like cookies you something like, “She deserves a treat.” Or, “she doesn’t get this every day.” Or, “We only do this on vacation.” Or “How else can I get through this meeting.”
If you don’t have a map it is almost impossible to reach your destination.
- Identify the roadblock. Does your child insist on eating the same three foods? Do you have limited time in the kitchen? Do grandparents interfere? Is your child afraid of gagging?
- Remove —or go around—the roadblock. Usually this happens in the form of a lesson. Children learn to eat a variety of foods by using The Rotation Rule to cycle through foods they’re comfortable eating. Other times, however, you have to make changes to the family routine: No sweet treats on Tuesday because grandma comes every Thursday!
Instead of winging it, figure out how you want your children to behave in relation to food, assess what they need to learn in order to achieve those goals. Step back so you can see the bigger picture.
Then stop thinking about nutrition and start thinking about habits.
~Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits.~