Sometimes I think I should write a blog post titled “Everything I Know about Parenting I Learned as a Teacher” … it wouldn’t be exactly-totally-100% true, because I also got lots of on-the-job training as a mom, but I find myself referring to my teacher training more as my boys get older.
When I was a teacher, I learned students need to hear something fifteen times before it really “sticks.” FIFTEEN!?! No wonder I felt like a broken record!
Yet, I DO think the “fifteen times” rule holds true – in teaching, and in parenting. As adults, we get frustrated thinking, “Haven’t I explained this already?” But it’s important to repeat ourselves to children… especially when we’re repeating the important stuff!
If repetition is the key to learning, then consistency is the key to teaching. And what are we doing when we parent but teaching our children how to live?
I’m not talking about obedience and respect issues, I’m talking about things like remembering to say please and thank you, wash before dinner, take shoes off in the house.
Repetition and consistency become especially important when teaching kids healthy eating habits. I often hear parents say, “Oh he’d never eat [insert fruits and veggies]!” or “She refuses to eat [insert healthy food here].” It may be true that they simply don’t like broccoli, or their palate isn’t ready for sharp cheeses. We all have foods we like and don’t like even as adults.
But…Kids are more likely to turn their nose up at food that is a) unfamiliar b) not sweet and c) not appealing. You can make the unfamiliar food become familiar though! And now… a flashback… (cue flashback music)…
….I remember sitting at my mom’s kitchen table as a seven or eight year old for HOURS with the same plate of spaghetti and sauce before me, refusing to eat. Why? Not because I didn’t like spaghetti, but because those little black flecks in the sauce were unfamiliar to me. They looked like bugs and pine needles. I convinced my little self that my mother had gone out to the backyard pine tree and scooped up a bunch of needles to throw into the sauce. Yes, I was quite imaginative! And it wasn’t until YEARS later that I even told my mother that’s why I wasn’t eating it (I assumed she KNEW, since after all, SHE was the one who put pine needles in the sauce, right?!)….
Back to the present… What’s my point? My point is. I did not continue to hate spaghetti and sauce for the rest of my life. My mother didn’t just whisk that plate away or never serve me spaghetti and sauce again. No, every time we had spaghetti, she’d put some on my plate. Eventually, the sight, smell, and taste of this dish became familiar to me, and I stopped imagining my mom putting strange ingredients in the sauce. What if my mother had given up after the second or third time?
I’m not saying to keep your kids at the table for two hours (although Italians do believe in long mealtimes!). I’m just saying don’t give up after the first, second, fourth, eighth refusal when it comes to healthy food you know is good for your children. Make an unfamiliar food become familiar!
Our boys have both eaten salad since they were young toddlers. Why? I’m glad you asked! I even made a whole video about why I think our boys eat such a great variety of raw and whole foods:
Getting our boys to eat salad (or peas, or brussel sprouts) didn’t happen overnight. It took many, many tries before we got to the happily crunching kiddos you see in the video!
As your kids develop their eating habits and tastes, you can supplement with things like probiotics to support healthy gut and digestive systems. I mentioned BioGaia ProTectis in the video, which is the children’s probiotic we’ve been using lately. BioGaia ProTectis is a probiotic designed especially for children, and comes in drops (I like to add these to applesauce for the kids), chewable lemon tablets, or a drinking straw (kids will love this!).
Lactobacillus reuteri Protectis is BioGaia’s own patented probiotic bacteria. Because Lactobacillus reuteri Protectis naturally occurs in the human body it is uniquely adapted to reside in humans.
Adding probiotics to your child’s diet is just one way to promote an overall lifestyle of healthy eating! (BONUS: probiotics are effective in reducing side effects of antibiotics!). BioGaia ProTectis is now available in Walgreens stores nationwide.
WIN IT: One (US) reader wins a sample pack of BioGaia ProTectis. Easy single entry in the Rafflecopter form below!
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This post was sponsored by BioGaia and MomSelect and I was provided samples and compensated for this post and video. All opinions are my own.