Say NO To Stressful Mealtimes
The Gut and the Brain are now known to be very much connected. The Autonomic nervous system (ANS) connects the gut and the brain. There are two branches to the ANS, the parasympathetic and the sympathetic.
The parasympathetic nervous system controls rest and digest and the sympathetic nervous system is our fight or flight response. If your child is stressed, upset or anxious during meal times this will switch on the sympathetic nervous system hence turning off digestion.
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This switches off your child’s appetite. Think of the last time you were nervous or upset. Where you able to eat?
The same thing can happen to your child if meal times are causing stress or anxiety in your child.
Tips to reduce mealtime stress:
Put all the food on the table and get everyone to sit down together. Take 5 minutes before you eat for everyone to relax and get everyone to say two good things that happened them that day.Allow everyone to serve themselves the food they want.
Encourage everyone to choose at least 3 colours to make a rainbow with their food (don’t force them to eat it). Make it fun but not pushy.Encourage everyone to sit at the table and chat about the fun things they will do later until everyone is ready to leave.
Don’t focus in on the child who’s not eating. Allow them to choose when to eat. If they don’t eat or eat very little. Do not make an issue of it.Reduce snacks before meal times if you find your child is not eating.
It’s important that all phones, tv’s, ipads and computers are turned off during meal times.Have relaxing music play in the background.
Be patient and don’t rush or force your child to eat more foods. If you need help with picky eaters contact me for more information.