Parents tell me all the time that they can't get their children to eat breakfast.
"But," I usually ask, "would your child eat a junky breakfast?" The answer is usually, "yes."
(Actually, it's usually, a "yes, but...")
Which would you rather do? Send your child to school:
- Having eaten something...and without a fight?
- Not having eaten something...but still having had a fight?
Sounds like two bad choices, I know. But sometimes, those are the only choices you've got. And sometimes, as parents we've got to get out of our own way.
I know that a healthy breakfast is your goal, but...
From a habits perspective, the choice is clear.
- Establish a breakfast-eating habit first.
- Gradually improve the quality of the breakfast that is eaten.
Believing any change is permanent—and that you get only one change per problem—trips parents up.
In practice, you may have to go through a sequence of changes to get where you're going.
- Consider a concession that makes you crazy.
- Reduce the pressure.
- Resolve the original problem.
- Correct the correction before it becomes entrenched.
I've made this argument before when talking about the struggle parents have introducing vegetables.
Sometimes The Less Nutritious Choice is Right.
Think about how good you'll feel when:
- Your child willingly (maybe even eagerly) eats breakfast.
- You no longer get all twisted up inside worrying about sending your child off to school hungry.
- Mornings lose the drama.
Once you've got a good breakfast-eating habit going...Use the Rotation Rule to switch things up.
If you don't know what I'm talking about (or if you need a refresher), read End Picky Eating with The Rotation Rule.
I discuss all these ideas in It's Not About the Broccoli.
~Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits.~