Childhood is also a period of intense development. As their bodies develop, their bodies also develop. A baby stops sleeping and starts eating solid food. A child stops eating baby food and starts eating solid food. A child stops eating solid food and starts eating solid food. And so on.
Children are like sponges. They soak up information like sponges. They learn about the world, about other people, about science, about math, about history, about language. They learn about themselves. All of that learning has to happen while they are eating.
Nutrition is the single most important factor in brain development. And eating fruits and vegetables is the single most important factor in nutrition.
But how do you get your kids to eat more fruits and vegetables? Vegetables and fruits are delicious. So are cookies, hamburgers, and french fries. But getting them to eat vegetables is harder.
Food is attractive for the same reason cake is attractive: it is delicious. And kids can get that across better with taste than with taste plus logic. So, if vegetables were as delicious as cookies, they would eat them.
Unfortunately, they are not.
To convince your kids to eat fruits and vegetables, you’re going to have to overcome the reward system. Here’s what you do.
- First, don’t argue. Don’t lecture, or threaten, or punish, or guilt-trip. If you overdo any of these, you’ll just give your kids more reason to rebel.
- Second, don’t bribe. Bribery doesn’t work. Kids know they’re being bribed, and they get the message. Also, the more food you bribe your child to eat, the less likely it is that he will eat vegetables. Bribery just encourages your kids to eat money.
- Third, don’t deprive. If you make your kids eat nothing but fruits and vegetables, they’ll just eat less of everything else.
- Fourth, don’t bribe with food. If you start bribing with chocolate, they’ll never learn to associate good behavior with vegetables.
Instead, reward good behavior with things other than food.