Too much pancakes...
As I've said, I've been taking care or the legal guardian of 3 little angels. They're not eating that much and just drink a lot of their bottled milk (the 3 yr old and the 4 yr old) which concerns me because they should be weaning off now with bottle feeding and just drinking with glass.
Anyway, my concern is my 4-year-old niece because she's always requesting pancakes for dinner and I've cooked that for a couple of days now but yesterday I didn't cook pancakes for dinner and she threw a fit/tantrum. I'm having a hard time managing this. I don't want her growing up spoiled or anything like that and I also want her to eat healthy since I know pancakes aren't really a healthy food to be eating everyday or every night for that matter but how do I do that when she goes into a tantrum every time I cook something other than pancakes for dinner? How do I make her eat something other than pancakes for dinner? Any advice would be really appreciated. Thanks girls!
Sounds like you're doing a great job caring for the 3 kiddies!
Just a few thoughts - perhaps you could save eating pancakes for one 'special day' a week. For example, every Saturday lunchtime you could have pancakes and talk about it in advance with your niece. When she requests them on other days you could say something like 'oooh we have to wait until Saturday because that's the special day we all eat pancakes together but maybe we could start thinking of some toppings now'.
Another thought I had was that you could involve her in the cooking of the meal e.g. helping with mixing/ getting ingredients out of the fridge so she enjoys the cooking experience. Perhaps then she will want to choose a greater variety of food. Has she got a children's cookbook? There are some lovely ones out there.
Also, whilst you are making the transition (away from all the pancakes!) you could start by offering her food which is similar to pancakes e.g. omelettes or perhaps she enjoys the soft texture of the pancakes.
I agree that it is best if your nieces and nephews are drinking from a glass rather than a bottle as this will be better for their teeth. In order to make this transition as gentle and fun as possible, you could all go out on a special outing to choose their own cups. You could also have a little party/celebration for them and explain now they are big boys and girls they will be having cups/glasses to drink from.
I hope some of this helps,
Let us know how you get on,
LJ gave some wonderful suggestions and I'm sure you'll be able to incorporate some of what she said into your attempts to transition from bottle to glass, and from pancakes to healthier foods.
However, you may find that just making pancakes a "treat" will be met with some resistance, and the reason would be because it sounds like she has been conditioned to know that throwing a tantrum will get her what she wants. This is very common with children, and if you learn how to stop rewarding the tantrum, she will then stop throwing them.
You will feel more confident about making this transition if you play out various scenarios in advance, and know exactly how you will respond if she throws a tantrum.
One scenario may play out like this:
Niece asks for (demands?) pancakes. But you are preparing another menu for that meal and your desire is that she sit with the family, with a happy face, and enjoy the meal with everyone else. This is what I would do.
When your Niece asks for the pancakes, you'll want to squat down to her level and take her hands and look her in the eyes and kindly and lovingly say, "The family is having chicken and rice for dinner tonight. I would like you to wash your hands and put the plates on the table."
You've just done two things there. You've told her what she can expect to eat for dinner, you've made it clear that you will be eating as a family and you've given her direction.
When telling her what she can expect to eat (what's on the menu) focus on the foods that you are serving, that she has eaten and enjoyed before. If she likes corn, mention the corn, if she doesn't like broccoli, don't mention the broccoli.
Giving her direction tells her that you are in control. Children thrive on routine and structure. If she complies, then she feels that she doesn't have a choice - you are in control, and you have given her direction so she must obey.
If she throws a fit and refuses to do what you have asked, then you'll want to respond in one of two ways. If she will walk with you, then you take her hand and say, "let's go wash your hands". You are now "helping" her to carry out the task you assigned. This is a very good first step in getting her to respond to your requests on her own - which will come with time.
If she throws a fit and won't walk with you, then you'll need to become more stern, and let her know that this is not okay. You can even say "I won't let you do that. This is not okay." If she continues and doesn't stop, then you'll want to put her in her room, or hold her while sitting in a chair (if you hold her, make sure she cannot kick or hit you). Let her know that as soon as she settles down, that you will let go. If she is in her room, let her know that as soon as she stops crying and can come out and be pleasant, that she can rejoin you.
This is dealing with a potential poor reaction to her not getting what she wants. Once you've dealt with that, then you can apply a lot of the ideas that LJ suggested.
Also, in our family, if we serve something for a meal, and a child will not eat it, we just let them know that they won't be able to have anything else to eat until they've eaten what they've been served. Sometimes this means that if they don't eat dinner, they will be served it again in the morning, for breakfast, while everyone else is eating breakfast foods. You can even play it up. We're having ice cream for dessert tonight (or maybe in your case you could make pancakes the dessert) but you won't be able to have any until you've eaten what's on your plate. This often is a big enough motivator for our children to eat what they've been served, because they enjoy dessert.
As for transitioning from bottle to cup - LJ has some great ideas. The children are old enough to drink from a cup with no problem, so if you just throw the bottles away one day (you can even have the children throw them out) there won't be a temptation to get them back out - and if the children know they are gone, there's a bigger chance that they won't ask for them.
I keep cups with straws in the house for when the children are sick - but it's not a bottle, it's a straw.
Also, I'm guessing the children will drink far less milk if they have to drink from a cup, which will mean bigger appetites for healthier foods.
The children may enjoy a green smoothie instead of some of their milk. These are very healthy drinks made of fruit and lettuce or greens.
Here's a video of a little girl (maybe 5 years old) making a frozen strawberry green smoothie. Yum!
Hope this gives you some ideas. Do a search on the forums for "green smoothies" and you'll find more recipe ideas and videos.
Hey! Thank you so much for the wonderful ideas. I will surely try what you said Kate and if it all goes successful, I will carry on to LJ's ideas. You both have been very helpful. Now, I have to start doing my mission of getting the pancake demands gone along with the tantrums and the milk bottles. I will tell you both the progress of the mission.
We look forward to hearing how you get on!
Did you try any of the tips suggested this week? How are you doing?