Dr. Kenney explains why a child should only be given one option for dinner and shares how this can be accomplished.
Hi, I am Dr. Lynne Kenney. I am a mom and pediatric psychologist and I specialize in in-home interventions and pediatric psychology in a neuropsychology practice.
You know, I think families need to become a one-dinner family because it’s good for everybody. Let’s think about it for a second – if you are a mom or a dad who is making multiple meals for multiple kids you have to grocery shop more, you’ve got to spend more time cooking and you are not teaching your children how to be a part of the family community and just join in.
So when mom say, “Should I be a one-meal family or should I keep cooking for all the kids?” I always say to them, “Let’s use your commonsense. What do you think is best for you?” So let’s think about some of the advantages of being a one-meal family.
One, you are going to shop less. Two, you are going to spend less. Three, you are going to work less, and four, your kids are going to learn the message of joining in and being part of the family community.
So let’s talk about a family that I once visited in their home, okay? This is a really cool family because the mom had come to me saying, “I am just overwhelmed and stressed out.” She had four young children all under nine years of age and we had a total blast.
We set about making everybody their own place mats so everybody got to draw their own place mat, get their own setting so that when they would come to the table mom could start being organized in space.
Then we took a piece of paper and we wrote down the kids’ favorite meals, alright? Even a three-year-old can tell you what kind of food they like. So they wrote down all the foods that they liked and then mom transferred that into a meal plan for seven days. Now listen, you don’t have to meal plan for 30 – seven days is plenty.
Think about how that created buy in for the children and for the mom. They had their own little place setting, they got to see that their favorite foods have been served for dinner and mom was able to shop less, cook less and be less stressed out.
Let’s talk for a second about buy in. Let’s say that you are going to become a one-meal family but your kids have lots of different tastes and interests – that’s okay because if you’ve got a list of the foods that they like you can go and buy those foods just as side dishes in the one meal.
The other thing you can do is have the kids help you with the preparation. There’s nothing more fun than gathering the children around the kitchen island and participating and making the meal together. So that’s why it’s really beneficial to become a one-meal family.
About Dr. Lynne Kenney, Psy.D.:
Lynne Kenney, Psy.D., is a mother of two, a practicing pediatric psychologist in Scottsdale, AZ, and the author of The Family Coach Method (St Lynn’s Press, Sept 2009). She has advanced fellowship training in forensic psychology and developmental pediatric psychology from Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School and Harbor-UCLA/UCLA Medical School. Dr. Kenney is currently a featured expert for Momtastic.com and Parentsask.com.