Using contribution to address behaviors means giving children jobs related to the given situation. This is a proactive skill that can be used before, during and after mealtimes.
- Before meals, children can be buttering rolls, serving green beans, taking drink orders, coloring placemats and writing menus.
- During meals, children can pass serving bowls, serve onto plates, decide topics of conversation and monitor manners (helps them to learn manners by being in charge of others).
- After meals, children can scrape plates, carry plates to the sink, load silverware in the dishwasher and wipe the table.
Using choices to address behaviors can be an effective piece of managing mealtime behaviors. For a child who won’t stay seated, “do you want to sit by mommy or daddy today?” or, “do you want to sit at the big table or your little table today?” As with most behaviors, the idea is to try choices before consequences. A positive logical consequence would be, “if you can stay seated, you can butter the rolls.” A negative logical consequence would be, “if you are out of your chair, you’ll have to be buckled in the booster seat.”
In my two hour evening workshop, we spend some of our time on ways to manage behaviors and some on avoiding pickiness. Avoiding pickiness includes being in charge of only what is offered, avoiding short-order cooking and bribery. To learn about these ideas and lots more, join me!