StartUp Book: French Kids Eat Everything

Hello 6 months! Well, Gummy Bear is 7 months already and has a voracious appetite for solid foods. My only problem is he is a bit of a picky eater. So far he doesn’t like bland cooked baby food so we always have to put in a little baby jar food mixed in just so that there is a bit of taste. Any body else with this kind of problem? I didn’t have any issues before with Baby Bear as she willingly gobbled up the cooked baby food.

I have had this book for awhile now on my bookshelf but I was waiting for the 6 month mark to really read this book. Wanted to time it as we start Food Training 101 for Gummy Bear.

french kids eat everything

french kids eat everything

I highly recommend this book. This is a book, not just for picky eaters but everyone who eats in general. Here are the highlights of the book:

french food rules

french food rules

I learned a lot from this book but what I want to harp on is MY biggest takeaway from this book. We have all been hearing about GRIT and how it is the key to raising good kids. Forming GRIT is something that is not easy to do. The book How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character laments the fact that these days, kids have a strong sense of entitlement. We live in a very fast-paced world and since everything is within reach or literally at tip of our fingers, we are so used to having and getting everything that we want in just a snap. Our kids also have it lucky because our generation of parenting is quite different from the way our parents used to do it  before. We try to fill in the gaps of our parents who didn’t spend that much time with us since they were so busy working hard in order for us to have the luxurious life we have right now so we can afford more time to spend with our kids and have more money to splurge on them. In the book, How Children Succeed, Paul Tough states that the success of a kid has to do more with qualities that have something to do with developing skills like patience, perseverance, curiosity, self-control, and optimism. Going back to the book French Kids Eat Everything, kids are trained to sit through long dinners with adult conversations. We all know the adage that goes: a family that eats together, stays together. We may eat together but sometimes it’s either we are in a rush, looking at our cellphones, or nagging the kids to hurry up and eat. Dinner time should be a pleasant experience, a long affair (hello 3 course meals), and a time to bond over food and conversation. It also gives us the chance to bond together with the family and teach “life lessons”.

How does one teach life lessons over dinner:

Scenario: We are actually guilty of leaving Baby Bear to eat with the nanny because we feel that she eats more when we are not there. Typical girl, she loves chatting while eating – and when she chats, food is stuck on her mouth for a long time (read: babad) and it takes a longer time to swallow.

Life Lessons:

– Don’t talk when your mouth is full!

– The value of being patient and waiting for the all of the members to finish eating – While the essence of dinner time should be talking and catching up, this hasn’t worked for us since dinner becomes way longer and we are actually the ones without the patience to sit through it. 😦 I am learning to stop saying “hurry up and finish eating” and now, spend more time enjoying dessert and teaching stuff to Baby Bear over dinner.

– No one left behind and no gadgets should be used during the course of dinner –  – The few times that Baby Bear finishes eating before we do, she is itching to go down at once to play,  so this is quite a daunting task for me now. Especially when we are outside and the orders haven’t arrived yet, the default before was to let her play the iPad. We are training not just Baby Bear, but also ourselves to sit through our restaurant dinners without any distractions. We don’t allow iPhones or iPads during meals. We used to allow other distractions such as coloring, reading a book, stickers, toys, etc. but it was just the same as the iPad.We just substituted the distraction with another distraction, which just takes away the fun and interaction that supposedly came with dinner time as being the time to catch up on what is going on in each others’ lives. Consistent with another book that I read, Bringing Up Bebe, making them sit-through these dinners harps on the importance of letting kids sit down and develop patience by learning how to wait. I make Baby Bear sit through our dinners, let her listen to our work or household discussions. She doesn’t need to actively participate but she has to sit through them. In the long run, kids are supposed to learn from these adult conversations. This is where they get a chance to pick up “life lessons”. They can also simply be quiet and bored with the adult conversation. When they are bored they tend to daydream which sparks the creativity wheel in their brains.

– In line with our no gadgets policy, we have a strict no gadgets rule during weekdays. While Baby Bear constantly whines “unfair” because all her cousins can iPad anytime, we want her to have lots of free time to read books, play with her toys, spend time with Gummy Bear, go down to the park and play with her friends. She can also opt for alone time where she chooses what she wants to do by herself. The French believe that it is important that kids can play alone.

I think the French are really on to something when it comes to parenting their kids. Theirs may not be the perfect system but it is a good support to their belief in the importance of raising foodies and good children. To them, raising good kids start with teaching them to have good table manners. Having good table manners is a practice of good habits. Not only that, perfecting the art of eating and the habit of eating together, allows you to spend more time with your family members to bond over stories and life lessons. At the end of the day, it’s all about quality family time… it doesn’t hurt if our tummies are also happily satisfied in the process. Happy tummy, happy life! 🙂

 

 

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