Sneak a Few Bites Past Your Child
- What: Eating Guessing Game for Kids
- When: Mealtimes
- Why: Keep them from leaving hungry
- Where: Your home
Tired of trying to get your kids to take a few more bites? We’ve long since given up on shoveling food into our kids’ mouths ourselves. But some days you know they need more to eat, even if they can’t realize it themselves quite yet. During those meals, I often resort to this guessing game I like to call How Many More Bites.
It plays to their sense of fun and games. Instead of telling them they need to take two more bites to be eligible for dessert, or after dinner fun, or whatever morsel we use to motivate them that particular day, I inquire how many bites they have left on their plate. The key to this game as an adult? Never guess right. I try to overestimate how many bites I think they will eat, and boy, do they love proving me wrong.
They forget they are bored, or don’t like the food, or don’t want to eat. Instead, eating becomes a game. They fork up big spoonfuls (this is where you have to be careful, especially with younger kids who will literally choke themselves to prove you wrong) and shove them in to disprove your guess. It also works great as a counting exercise for young kids just learning their numbers. For older kids, you can take it one step further and toss in some math. For example, if I guess eight bites and they’ve taken three, I ask how many bites they have left.
Once your kids get wise to this game, you can have them guess a number of bites as well. It comes as no surprise to anyone but my children that they always guess right, which is part of the magic of taking teeny tiny bites or giant ones to reach the right number.
One day they will discover that I don’t care about guessing correctly as long as they eat. But by then, hopefully they will have learned to listen to their body’s cues about hunger and fullness.