Making mealtimes memorable!

Essay by sanasattar April 2006

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Bringing up children

Raising a child is one of the hardest, most responsible and satisfying tasks a human being can face. It is also the job for which people receive the least formal training.

Each person's knowledge of how to bring up a child usually comes from their surroundings and their own upbringing. This may result in patterns from the parent's own social experiences being repeated and passed on to their children.

Parents are role models

Parents are the most influential role models children are likely to have. Parents who pay compliments and show respect, kindness, honesty, friendliness, hospitality and generosity to their children will encourage them to behave in the same way.

Parents should express their unconditional love for their children, as well as provide them with the continued support they need to become self-assured and happy.

It is also important that parents set reasonable expectations for their children and tell them in plain words what they expect from them.

Parents and those who care about children will want to feed them well to give them a good start in life.Sensible feeding begins during pregnancy when the expectant mother eats sufficient protein,fresh fruits and vegetables,to supply enough nourishment for herself and the developing baby. After the birth,the baby is fed entirely on milk for the first few months,then is weaned on to other foods.The child will then get nourishments from a variety of foods containing different types of and amounts of nutrients.A child who is grown into a healthy adult needs a balanced diet.A Balanced Diet is one which contains enough of all the necessary food substances.

Why is food needed?

People take in food to satisfy feelings of hunger and because they enjoy eating and drinking.The body uses this food to provide:

- Material for growth

- Material to replace worn out or damaged tissues.

- Energy for the wide range of chemical activities that take place inside the body.

- Energy for physical activities.

- Heat to keep the body warm.

Food & Emotions

Mealtimes are more than just times when food is eaten.they should be social occasions as well.A young baby is unhappy when hungry and happy when fed.When parents feed their their baby,they are providing happiness and love,so the baby comes to link food with happiness and love.These feelings help towards the development of a bond of affection between parents and child.

Gradually,during weaning,babies want to feed themselves and later,to decide what they eat.Children who are allowed to feed themselves and to eat as much or as little as they want,will continue to enjoy mealtimes and to link them with love and affection.However,if every mealtime is a battle over what is eaten or how it is eaten,the food will become linked with bad temper,willfulness and fussiness.This can create a problem which may last throughout childhood and even longer.

Making Mealtimes Memorable

Getting your 3- or 4-year-old to eat a variety of healthy foods can be an ongoing challenge, since she's still learning to try new tastes and textures. "A child's growth rate also slows down quite a bit at this age, so she's not going to have the voracious appetite that she did when she was 2," says Margaret Bogle, Ph.D., R.D., coauthor of How Should I Feed My Child? (Chronimed, 1993).

Mealtime Environment

Snacks and meals can be served in different ways. To promote children's learning about food and nutrition, experts recommend that children decide for themselves what to eat and how much to eat. Allowing children to make food selections and to serve themselves exercises children's small muscle coordination and helps them to regulate their own food intake. Experts also suggest that adults sit with children during snacks and meals and eat the same foods. To keep snacks and mealtimes fun, vary food presentation and mealtime routines. Three different variations include: family style, buffet style, and picnics. When making plans for snacks and meals, consider children's developmental abilities and needs.