Greystone House Montessori Schools Houston, Texas. Child care Montessori provider in Champions, The Woodlands, Spring Texas Greystone House Montessori Schools Houston
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It’s hard for us to give up control of our children. If we begin with the premise that we are beginning with the end in mind, that’s exactly what we must do. Fortunately, it’s good practice for us to realize that eating is one of the first things that begins to teach us parents to relinquish that power thing. We cannot make a child chew and swallow. It sets up a lot of really negative power struggles when we beg our child to eat, bribe with dessert, or force the child to stay at the table until she does eat. The goal is to respond to the child’s own internal cues. When only nutritious food is available to the child, it doesn’t matter how much or how little of any one food the child eats. It really doesn’t matter when the child eats. When emotional issues are removed from eating, a child may eat extremely erratically, but research has shown that daily caloric intake remains essentially constant. For your own peace of mind, think weekly, not even daily intake. A child may eat lightly for two or three days, then pig out for a day. If it’s all nutritious, it doesn’t matter. Here are some other tips:

• Keep portions child-sized. A tablespoon for each year the child is old of each food is enough to start the meal with. If he wants more, make it available. (Use good sense here. We occasionally have a child who will eat as long as we let him sit.)

• Expect food jags. Just make sure you vary accompaniments to the chosen food. As a general rule, the more colorful a meal, the more nutritious it is.

• Fruits and vegetables are both in the same food group, meaning that they’re equally valid foods. Keep juices to a minimum though. They’re full of sugar and there’s too little fiber.

• Set your rules and stick to them. As a general rule, preschoolers need intake every three to four hours, but you’ll want to be careful about snack or juice 30 minutes before a meal. A carrot or a cucumber coin works pretty well as an anti-pasta. Do you want to provide open snack from a low cabinet? If it’s nutritious (nuts, dried fruit, whole-grain cereals), it’s okay to be available at all times.

• Allow for individual eating patterns. Some adults go 8 to 10 hours between meals, then eat heartily. Other adults prefer to graze. Our children should have the same prerogative.

The most critical tip is to role model good eating habits. What we do speaks so loudly our children can’t hear what we say. Overeating and poor eating habits are so pervasive in our society that we have to take the first step of beginning with ourselves.