Feeding kids can be a challenge, to put it nicely. Am I right? How would you feel if I told you I can help create peace during mealtimes. How would you feel if I told you I can take the stress out of feeding your kiddo. If I told you I could help avoid the daily throw down matches over how many bites and which foods to try? How would you feel if you were let off the hook?
Enter the division of responsibility. The first time I heard this (before I had kids) I was in awe. Duh, that’s so simple, so straight forward and honestly quite obvious. But this is not how most people are raised.
The Division of Responsibility (Ellyn Satter Institute) separates, clearly, the responsibilities during mealtime. As the parent you’re in charge of what, when and where your child eats. You then trust that your child decides how much of and whether they eat the food you presented.
Now if your child is still a baby then this can be easy to implement now. If you already have a toddler or child who is used to being told how many bites to take, which foods to eat, or what their plate should look like at the end of mealtime you might have some work to do. And that’s totally ok!
You love your child - I know! You want the best for them, you want them to grow and to thrive! I totally get it but I also suspect you want your child to be self-sufficient and in tune with their own specific needs. I bet you also want your kid to grow up having side-stepped any disordered eating habits they might bring from their childhood into adolescence and adulthood.
Now I can hear some of you already; “but you don’t know my kid, he wouldn’t eat if I didn’t count his bites”, “sounds easy but what if they don’t eat”, or “what if they overeat and put on too much weight too quickly” so many thoughts around food and mealtimes with kiddos. At the end of the day babies and toddlers are born to be intuitive eaters. They have no learned behaviors yet that create voices to tell them what or how much they “should” eat. They just eat, and they eat what they need to grow.
Now I get it, I’ve even gone down the rabbit hole of “two more bites please” but don’t fall for that trap. The truth is some days your child may only need a small portion of their meal whereas another day they may eat two full helpings, or four bananas in one sitting (real story of my son).
Trust your child to eat what they need, they will grow, they will regulate and they will thrive!!! Not to mention, they will grow up without food rules which follow them later in life.
So start now. Post the division of responsibility on your fridge if you need help remembering during mealtimes. If you need more assistance with this contact me and we can work on it together in detail! You’re doing great mama, remember you are the best mom for your child, doing the best you can and doing what you think is best. So now, know better, do better.