As anyone who follows me for any length of time knows, I’ve always struggled with sleep. I can remember nights on end of sleepless nights, even in primary school, and my mother says I was a terrible sleeper as a baby.
When I was speaking to Kim Corley, sleep expert, yesterday on Talk Tuesday I realised that not sleeping well as a baby was not going to bode well for later life (thanks mum and dad :( )
I have a home-office and have to pass my bed many times each day. I used to look at it with a mixture of longing and anger. I longed to lie down and get some rest, as I was always tired.
But at the same time I knew that often sleep, when I really needed it and wanted it to come – aka during the night – was often unattainable.
Finally, about 4 years ago I met a lady who promised she could get me sleeping better. I was very skeptical but also desperate. It’s hard to explain to anyone who hasn’t suffered from lack of sleep, just how awful it is. How much it colours your life and can ruin some of the best occasions (very similar to eating challenges 😊).
Once I got the sleeping happening – it’s still not great but it’s way, way better than before – the image of my bed totally changed. I would walk past it and smile. I looked forward to sinking into it’s comfort and my mindset was definitely that when it was time to climb in it would be welcoming and cocooning!
I thought of this this morning as I was making it, and once all straight and organised it looked so inviting. But not in a “gah, I so wish I could lie down now” way, but in a “how nice will it be to hit the pillow later tonight”.
OK, so you knew this was coming … the relating it back to picky eating 😊 Which is easy peasy!
I know a lot of parents who dread the evening meal. Who wake up and start worrying about how the meal is going to go and how challenging it will be. All thoughts are tending towards the negative.
I get how it works, my bed tortured me for years! But we have become partners in sleep. The bed is where I do get to rejuvenate.
Family meals on the other hand are a highlight in my day. I really look forward to sitting down with my husband and boys and sharing a lovely meal. Like my sleep it is often not perfect but the images it conjures up are fuzzy and positive.
If your family meal table tortures you, let’s get that fixed. Even if you have a super selective eater, this is absolutely possible and I have many families that prove this is true.
1. Forget the eating. I know, that sounds silly, but not concentrating on what is being eaten takes a lot of pressure off a parent. If you’re coming to the table to share time with the family, not to count mouthfuls it’s a whole lot less stressful. Measure the success of the meal not by what’s being eaten (or not) but by how pleasant it all seems.
2. We determine the atmosphere to a large degree. If we’re smiling and relaxed, it enables everyone else to do the same.
3. Don’t comment or focus on our child’s plate. Imagine going to a restaurant and having the extended family all comment on what you are eating. Then talking about it and pointing. Not a nice feeling! The less focus on a child, the less pressure.
4. Make sure there is something at the table that your child likes to eat. No one comes to the table happily if they don’t feel they can fill the tummy.
5. Don’t argue over the veggies/mouthfuls/mess. If we don’t enter into an argument there can’t be one.
Remember, the more relaxed we are, the more likely we are to eat. Following the steps above will begin that process towards a calming environment.
If you feel like you’d love pleasant family meals but are a long way away from that, please check out our new bite-sized modules on the website. We can absolutely change that.
So is there an inanimate object that tortures you?