The role of mum and dad
Parents are the primary source of inspiration for their children: what they do (as well as how and why they do it) is their most important model of education, especially in the early years of their life.
At the dinner table, therefore, like in all other situations, children need security, protection and love; they observe their parents, and they measure themselves by them and grow and learn.
The psychologist recommends...
Nutritional education and a positive approach to food set forth in childhood can help prevent eating and weight disorders (anorexia/bulimia, obesity).
Giving food the proper value means avoiding using it as a reward, punishment or distraction. It is important that it only involve positive connotations at mealtimes. Food is not a bargaining chip and the child should not eat to get affection or approval from its parents as a reward.
But then, how can we handle a "no", a tantrum, a challenge made by the little one at the dinner table?
First, you need to arm yourself with patience and keep control of the situation, knowing that sometimes the child may not be hungry and decide to skip a meal (and not die of hunger!) or may prefer to continue the game he was playing instead.
In any case, it is important to always try to understand the reason for his behaviour: if, for example, the child is unwell, too sleepy or just doesn't feel like eating, you should not force him.