Happy Meals - iBlankie - Parental Tips to Raising Happy Kids - Parents Instruction Manual

Old family recipe for "Happy Meals"
(not the kind you can buy at McDonald's!)

For a happy meal, the focus of mealtimes should not be the food, but on sharing and communicating and spending time with family. Connecting with your child is the important part of a happy meal, not what is on the table. For young children, food is love, so power struggles over food don't have a place at the table. Family meals are times to feed your family's soul. Bonding to your child during breakfast, lunch, or dinner is more important than teaching manners, especially since, for many families, meals are the few times everyone can be together as a family.

Sometimes a happy meal is easier to attain if there is a change-up in the usual eating scene:

  • Play "Most Favorite, Least Favorite" Game: Everyone in your family takes turns sharing "the most favorite part of your day" and "the least favorite part of your day."
  • Have a coloring book and crayons or matchbox cars at the table to occupy your child if they are not into the food. You can still connect over the conversation.
  • Eat by flashlight: A family-friendly variation on dinner by candlelight (if you can create nighttime by pulling down the shades in your dining room or kitchen). The dimmer light can calm your young child.
  • Have an indoor picnic: Put a plastic tablecloth on the floor and eat there-at least now your baby can't throw things down on the floor! Read The Winter Picnic by Robert Welber during dinner.

©Irene Shere, LLC