Sometimes we forget our little Buddhas are actually individuals, each one with their own unique characters, and trying to learn and discover the world.
As parents when it comes to how we should handle our children, we are always hearing “you should do this”, “do not do that”, or “don’t let your kid do this”. Unfortunately they do not come with instruction booklets, because they are all different. There is no one rule and we simply have to observe them, and see what fits best with their characters.
I came across a mother recently who was telling a group of us moms that we need to take snacks and snack time away from our kids, because when it is meal time they will not eat, blaming it all on the snacks they had consumed in between. Also that as a parent you are losing control by allowing kids to eat whenever they want, rather than waiting for their meal.
I understood what she was saying, however it just was not as black and white as she was trying to show us. Why? For the simple fact that just like some of us are better at eating smaller meals more frequently, our kids also may enjoy eating less but more often, rather than sitting down and having the three big meals we have been told is the “right” way to eat.
The trick to snacking, or as I call them smaller meals, is to know what you are snacking on (the quality of food) and how much of it.
My daughter and I are both small meal eaters, and we munch-down for frequently. Trust me I tried the three meals thing with her, but she was not really into it. However with the smaller meals, or what most people call snacks, she was eating more and more variety of food.
That is another issue to take into consideration when it comes to our little ones getting enough of their nutrients. There is no way someone can get all the vitamins and minerals they need from just three meals, unless those meals are so big in variety, which most of the time will leave you feeling too full to do anything else. Smaller meals give you the opportunity to add more variety, allowing them to eat different nutrients each time.
I do believe it is important to sit down, relax, and eat your food, whether it is a big meal or a smaller meal (snack). We make an effort to sit and eat our meals, although not always successful. Therefore indoor picnics have become very popular in our house, because Niku loves them, and it is my way to make her sit and actually see and enjoy what she is eating.
Giving kids their snack time does not really mean you are losing control as a parent or that they will not eat their dinner. There is no one right way to feed our children delicious nutritious food, so just see what works best for your child, snack or big meals.