Kid Hacks: 6 helps when a child won’t eat

Eating hindered by milk?You know one. Or you’ve seen one. Maybe you have one, or even were one.

It’s such a challenge to the mom, to get good, health-giving food down into picky tummies. You wonder if this child will be damaged by such a bland diet as potatoes and milk, the only two foods he really likes.

You wonder, also, over and over, what to do, what to do.

So, here we go, The answers you Need!:

Is this child around four years old?

The child walking through his fourth year is typically not growing much. You know: growth spurts. We think he’s not growing because he refuses to eat, but it’s the other way around. The fourth year is tough on kids. They don’t grow, they suffer emotional fears and imagined rejections. And someone is always chasing them with more food!
The solution I’ve found very helpful is to put one bite of everything offered at the meal on the child’s plate, and require cleaning his plate, in order to get whatever seconds he prefers.

Also, keep the drink cup out of reach to be handed to him for sips, to prevent what my mom used to call “drinking your meal”. In this way, the tiny bit he does eat will have some balance to it, and drinks will be used to fill gaps in the tummy after  a bit of yummy solids are in place, first.

Is this child lacking vitamins?

Well, of course, probably, right? The thing you might not know, though, Mom, is that as a child’s digestion slows, so does the amount of nutrients in his body. But then, oh bummers, there are certain nutrients which actually boost a person’s appetite, so we find it a vicious cycle that not eating diminishes nutrition, which diminishes appetite.
The obvious solution, once you think of it, is some fun, mild vitamin made especially for kids. I’d hop on that at once, if I had a low volume/picky eater.

Next, have you spoiled his appetite?

Ooh, I do not like this question, either! However, when hunger strikes, a child can be so dramatic and we let the drama push us around, handing off a graham cracker or something to pacify this emotional child, which makes him not hungry at mealtime, which makes him hungry before the next meal, which…
Okay, so just don’t. My mom used to tell me that her mom used to tell her to take a big drink of water and put out the hunger flame. This dilutes stomach acid, truly quenching that burning feeling we so glibly call “starving!”. So the child is hydrated but still able to summon hunger when the meal is served.

No offense, but really, is the food good?

If it’s not home cookin’, that could be half the problem. All that stuff you buy in a box and nuke, like Jane Jetson, isn’t really food. Oh, it says on the label that it’s food, but if we read closely, we see that probably all the non-pronounceables in the package also add some sort of flavor and the microwave definitely does something to texture, believe me. We’ve been lied to, but children are experts at sniffing out fakes . . .
Try cooking, once, to see if that fixes the problem. Add a pinch of salt, and maybe a slight slick of real butter. You might be surprised!

Even better yet, teach your child to cook.

Cooking the food, itself, transfers pride of ownership and true appreciation to the child’s heart. I remember when our daughter prepared her first, ever, entire meal. We sat down to eat and she told me, “Now I know, Mom, why at every meal you always say, ‘It feels so good to sit down.'”Ah, the sweet sound of appreciation! And attention to the duty of complimenting the cook by eating!

Meal planning!

The child who is taught, not only to cook, but also to meal-plan, will become more adventurous in food choices and acceptance, naturally. An amazing government document entitled Nutritive Value of Food is available as a pdf and allows easy research for a balanced diet. I have found it a constant and a joy that when a child discovers, for himself, that a food has nutritive value, he becomes more dedicated to liking it. Yes, a slight attitude change can make that much difference!

Okay, there you have it!

I’ve tried all six of these tacks with my little (and not-so-little) picky ones and they all survived. Hope you find something in this to help you down the road to better eaters, too!

Oh, and please add to these ideas, below, if you want! Thanks!

Tomatoes. Wow. Not.

No tomatoes

Peppers, yes.

This year, it seems either you HAVE enough tomatoes, thank you…

…or else you don’t.

This year, we don’t. We planted 40 Bradleys and Brandywines and got about ten quarts of tomato juice, total.

She sighs.

However, she DOES have tomato recipes and for those of you who have been blessed, she is willing to share and bless you even more!

Have fun! And use the contact page to let her know if you need more recipes, because, unlike the tomatoes, she does have more recipes. Ha.

So here goes!

FIVE CUP VEGETABLE SALAD

1 cup chopped tomato
1 cup chopped sweet onion
1 cup chopped bell pepper
1 cup chopped cucumber
1 cup Italian dressing

Stir and serve cold. Some like it better the second day.

ro-nO-TELl

Into each pint jar, place:

1 whole jalapeno
1 pinch rosemary leaves
1/2 tsp. salt

Fill each jar, then, with blanched and peeled tomatoes.
Apply hot flat and screw band.
Pressure can at 5 lbs. of pressure for 10 minutes.

MY SPAGHETTI SAUCE

2 T. olive oil
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 lb. bulk Italian sausage
2 c. raw sliced mushrooms
1 large onion, chopped
2 or 3 cloves garlic, pressed (or 4) (or 6 or 10)
1 t. powdered cayenne

Cook, stirring, on medium-high until meat is done and crumbly, mushrooms are dark brown, and onion is soft.

Add and stir:

3 T. dried Italian herb mix

Add and stir thoroughly, mashing tomatoes. Simmer for ½ hour:

1 quart canned tomatoes (or about fifteen medium peeled tomatoes)
1 small can tomato paste

Add and stir:

¼ c. Worcestershire sauce
½ c. catsup
several drops of liquid smoke

Add while stirring thoroughly:

2 T. cornstarch mixed with ½ c. water or tomato juice

Continue simmering until sauce thickens. Serve over pasta or spaghetti squash.

TOMATO BREAD

Warm:

2 ¼ c. tomato juice (OR whiz enough whole tomatoes, skin and all, to make that amount)
¼ c. tomato sauce
2 T. butter

Stir into and mix well:

3 c. white flour
1 pkg. yeast
3 T. sugar
1 t. salt

Add and knead:
3 ½ c. – 4 c. more flour

Let rise twice and bake in 2 regular size, greased loaf pans at 375 for 10 minutes and 350 for 30-35 minutes.

Divine for grilled cheese sandwiches!

Okay, that’s all. Love y’all. You can thank me now. ;-)

It’s Time.

English: Motivations regarded most important f...

Motivations regarded most important for homeschooling among parents in 2007. Source: 1.5 Million Homeschooled Students in the United States in 2007 Issue Brief from Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. December 2008. NCES 2009–030 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

School is almost upon us for the year. That means it is high time to look at your school choices.

Especially if you are unhappy with your collective school, you need to think about slipping out of that situation and readying yourself and your children for schooling at home. 

I hope you’ve spent quality time thinking about your children and their future. I hope you’ve inspected a bit of curriculum and even used my curriculum guide, which begins here.

 

You have hardly a month for organizing your life around a new normal.

You need to start now.

Your curriculum company and your children will be grateful if you do not wait until the week before school begins (as too many other people do) to place your order, expecting it to arrive timely. Timely arrival follows timely ordering. Like, hurry…

Okay.

With that in mind, I’d like to direct you to the homeschooling posts on this site, created just for you, for inspiring, motivating, guiding, and helping you make the transition.

Oh, and if you just need a booster and wish someone would give the beginning lectures to you all over again, hey, help yourself to these! You are welcome!

Why we don’t want them there in the first place:

My Sweetest Homeschool Memories; 5 pages!

To help you with inspiration and incentive:

Traditional Education

From Infancy to the Four-Year-Old, begins here and continues for 3 more pages.

To guide your choices and other decisions:

What Homeschooling is Like; 2 pages.

Do NOT Try Homeschooling (a trick title, but you’ll like this); 3 pages.

Is There Life After Homeschool? Yes!

To help figure out what curriculum you need:

A 5-Page Curriculum Guide by an Unbiased Person (me) (I love them ALL! and I am not to be sold.)

Okay. There is a LOT more on this site. Just use my search engine to search “homeschool” and you will find all sorts of help.

Have fun!

And don’t forget: Home’s Cool!

The $5.00 Gift

My Happy House!

My house is smiling.

I gave it a gift that cost me only five dollars.

It was gift-wrapped in dignity, grace, care, courage, and innovation.

Now its eyes are bright and shiny with happiness.

Making my gift one of those that gives both ways.

So I had a perfect chance to guest-post about it for Arkansas Women Bloggers and I’d love if you visited and left a comment! :)

Read about it here.

Do NOT Try Homeschool – Part 3

homeschooling afternoonOkay, how about a look at what success in home schooling really IS? The first axiom is:

The commitment is to your child, in obedience to the Lord.

Forget excuses about having tried; it is about your child and God. It is a sober-minded decision to do the right thing with the children He has given you. No matter what, you will blaze past trying, to continuing, which is the best way to prevent becoming a quitter.

Just as you would not think of quitting on the commitment with your spouse, do not do so regarding your children.

Another very obvious help to success in home school is this:

Be at home.

Yes, there are exceptions, such as my friend who managed the very first semester of her home school in hospital waiting rooms because of a tragic accident in her family. Still, that is not the goal, as my friend would assure you.

We do not want to plan to home school on the run. When we home school, we must change our lifestyle so we can be at home.

So many parents self-prescribe home school like a capsule for the remedy of problems in their children. Rather, it is you, Mom–your scent, your voice, the feel of your skin, something no other woman on earth can provide–you are the medicine that your child needs. (Did you know that hugged children are healthier, grow more, and learn faster than abandoned ones?)

The most important motto that I would suggest is:

Listen to God and follow what you know.

The world of home school advice is overflowing with counsel that is very good, but most of it is for someone else. You must mature to the place of knowing, instead of wondering or doubting.

How can we stand if we do not know what to do or even what we are doing? No matter if your whole support group is doing differently from you—or if they are doing the same—you must do what you know is perfect for you and your children, because you received it from the hand of God. There is a lot that I cannot tell you, but He can. Learn to hear Him.

The main subject and the main goal in all home schools should be Godliness. Many of us realize that. The trouble is that most folks do not realize this truth:

When we model Godliness, then we teach it.

The reverse, sadly, also is true. You must model Godliness even when you are teaching something as seemingly neutral as math. If you fret or yell to teach math, you are mostly teaching impatience, not math. Oh, they may also learn the math that you are presenting (just about anyone can) and with many reviews will probably retain a lot of it.

They will learn the impatience that we are modeling, though, in just one easy lesson and they will remember it a long time.

Modeling Godliness is the main ingredient in the successful home school. Without it, there is little benefit from teaching the rest.

So, I would hang a few mottoes on my walls, after all, I suppose. You can use them, too, if you want:

  • Commit, for your children’s sakes.
  • Be at home.
  • Listen to God.
  • Model Godliness.

Determine to obey Him and He will give you success in teaching your children.

Then you can quit trying to homeschool.