When our boys were much younger, there were times when I dreaded sitting down to the dinner table. It seemed that there was always something that someone didn’t like and after taking the time to prepare dinner, I really wasn’t in the mood to be critiqued by someone three feet tall.
Every family has their own way of dealing with the picky eater. My mother’s family told her about the starving Armenians; mine told me about the starving Ethiopians. What do Rick and I do? We ignore it. That’s right, we ignore it. We continue to go about enjoying our dinner, engaging in conversations with the willing, and don’t let on that what we would really like to do is three snaps in z formation and scream, “EAT YOUR BROCCOLI MR. PICKY-PANTS.” Eventually we hit on topics that engage everyone and before you know it, everyone is eating. The beauty of this is that we all ate by choice and not because someone told us to do it. This is important, because there was no struggle, no issue of control. Our kiddos also realized that they weren’t going to get a second menu to make selections from after dinner—it was more of a “what you see is what you get” scenario. We also don’t expect clean plates.
Following are games that have helped us over the years. Perhaps they will do the same for you.
Good thing/Bad thing: This game is good for families with children as young as age four. Each person simply shares a good thing that happened that day and a bad thing.
True/False: This game is a little trickier and is especially good for families with tight-lipped middle school kiddos who don’t seem to have much to offer in the way of conversation. Each person says one thing that happened that day that is true and one thing that is false and everyone else gets to guess which is which.