I think I've inadvertently stumbled across the greatest "get my kids to eat" trick of all time. Tonight, my boys ate all their (gross) dinner without complaining. I know, unheard of!
So, tonight we were sitting down for dinner of leftover chili that we'd eaten a couple of nights previously. None of my kids like chili but it was a cool day (68 degrees!) and I needed something quick and simple. Chili it was. Yip and Yap moaned and groaned Wednesday night so I wasn't expecting much cooperation tonight either. So I tried the Age Rule on them.
Let me explain, the Age Rule was something a friend of mine was telling me recently. In her house the rule is the kids have to take the number of bites as their age. In her case ages 4, 3, and 1. I've actually been using this rule for a while on Yahoo to get her to eat only 4 bites of her dinner. She usually eats without too much complaint and it has solved quite a few battles with her at the dinner table. To get the boys to eat I usually just resort to, "Eat it or Else!".
Back to the horrible chili dinner tonight....Yip and Yap moaning and groaning over the chili they thought was horrible and disgusting. The "Eat it or Else!" approach wasn't working at all.
"Fine!" I sighed as I threw up my hands in desperation. "How old are you?" I asked.
"9!! Well, almost 9." Yip answered eagerly.
"Alright then, you only have to eat 9 bites, BIG bites, of the chili!" I compromised.
You would have thought I had given them a prize! Yap started shoveling faster than I'd ever seen him eat something that wasn't a dessert and his 9 bites almost finished the bowl. Whoa. And Yip, well Yip went above and beyond and finished his bowl, quite fast I might add, in only 8 bites.
The chili wasn't any different than Wednesday night. The portion size wasn't any different either but I felt like I had different kids at my table. That number, just 9, quantifying exactly how much they had to eat made all the difference. I don't think they realized at all that nothing had changed or that they had easily eaten a bowl of chili that two nights earlier had been a daunting task. It was just that #9 and it was amazing.