How to handle Christmas in peace

As the holiday season approaches, many parents find themselves in a whirlwind of worries surrounding food and dining with young children. We deal with this topic very often during consultations, especially before Christmas, so let’s introduce a basic strategy for a quiet meal with children not only at Christmas but also here.

Author

Mgr. Jitka Ludvíčková

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Understanding the Christmas dynamic

Christmas, or any other festive event, is an emotional merry-go-round – it brings joy, anticipation and sometimes quite a bit of chaos. Food is a central part of our holiday traditions, and preparing children for the change in routine and variety of foods they will encounter this time of year is key to making the holidays as seamless as possible.

Preparing for Christmas

Start talking to your child about Christmas before it all breaks out. Explain the “what”, “”why”” and “”how”” is happening within your family’s traditions. Use visual aids such as photos or videos from previous years. Get the kids excited for the Christmas season, and not just for gifts from Santa!

Next, gradually introduce the child to the types of food that are usually served during Christmas. Again, use pictures and stories. You can easily tell your favorite fairy tales with a Christmas theme, even foreign ones where typically other traditional dishes are served. This can be the perfect opportunity to explain our traditions and compare them to others. If the child shows reluctance to the presented food or takes a negative attitude towards the topic in general, keep calm and do not react to the situation. At this stage it’s about getting to know each other, not persuading them to eat or taste!

Holiday meal strategy

Try to keep your child on a regular meal schedule as much as possible. This includes their usual snacks and meals, helping to prevent irritability caused by hunger and uncertainty.

Offer a small familiar snack before the main festive meal. This will ensure that the child is not too hungry. This can contribute to his greater tolerance for new foods during meals, and at the same time, you will not feel the urge to feed the child more so that he is not hungry.

Serve small portions and focus on one or two items that the child is most likely to tolerate. It can be something as simple as a piece of bread and a toasted carp crumb. The goal is to prevent you from swallowing the baby. Because usually shared meals are already hectic in themselves.

Have realistic expectations . Accept that your child may eat very little or no traditional food. The focus should be on the overall experience and enjoyment of the meal, not just the amount of food consumed. By forcing yourself to eat, you can contribute to a negative attitude when serving other new foods or during holidays, not only in the following year. Children remember these small grievances very well.

If you are traveling for the holidays, take familiar things from home with you. Familiarity in a new environment can be comforting and help reduce anxiety. This may include a placemat, plate, cutlery, drinking mug, etc. Always keep a supply of snacks on hand so that you can possibly feed your child before or after a holiday meal to prevent bad moods from hunger. Feel free to do this during a short walk outside or when you jump to change the baby’s diaper or visit the toilet. This way you can elegantly avoid inappropriate comments from the rest of the family and acquaintances.

Sweets and confectionery management

Greater consumption of sugary foods reduces appetite for foods that often have higher nutritional value. And they can also lead to cravings for more sweets.

If you have candy or other festive treats within easy reach, negotiate with your child how much they can eat. Prepare the jointly agreed amount, for example, on a special plate. Or arrange for the child to ask you questions. You might think this is too strict, but the goal of this measure is just to get a fair idea of ​​how much candy the child actually ate.

When eating, focus primarily on sources of quality proteins, fats and a portion of vegetables or fruit. There is no need to panic if the child only eats a small amount of food. For those few days, a larger amount of less suitable sources of calories will certainly not harm him.

Summary

The main goal of experiencing the holidays is a relaxed and joyful atmosphere. Remember that the holidays are only a few days. A disordered diet, more sweets or more frequent rejection of food is almost certainly only temporary.

Trust me, managing mealtime during the holidays doesn’t have to be stressful, with the right preparation and approach it can be an enjoyable part of your family’s holiday season. For more in-depth strategies and tips for a relaxing time at the family table, sign up for our online program. As a holiday gift, we offer until the 24th. December 20% discount on the course with the code vanace20. Sign up and turn family dining into a peaceful and joyful memory.

On behalf of The Eating School team, we wish you all pleasant and peaceful holidays full of wonderful, not only culinary, experiences.

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