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Review: Kristen Yarkers’ Toddler at the Table Nutrition Workshop (12-24m)

January 12, 2012 with 0 Comments

Review submitted by Tammy Diesner

I was at my wit’s end with my daughter’s eating habits (or lack thereof).  She would happily live on just crackers and cheese, and that is, sometimes cheese… I know it sounds a bit silly, but I felt like I was failing as a parent, because my child wasn’t eating properly.As I was searching for solutions,  I came across information about the “Toddler at the Table” workshop offered by Kristen Yarker from Vitamin K Consulting.  The description seemed to speak directly to my needs. And yes, I was so very ready to “transform my picky eater into a food-confident child”!

Kristen comes highly accredited. She has been a registered dietitian for many years, works for Dietitians of Canada and is the author of the “Healthy Eating” section of the BC publication: Toddler’s First Steps.

When I arrived at the workshop, we started with the standard introductions of ourselves and what motivated us to attend the workshop. Kristen offered plenty of opportunities to address individual questions and concerns, throughout the entire workshop.

The first part of the workshop was educating us on the theory behind what is happening developmentally in our toddler’s minds.  A biggie is that “tricky taste buds” are in effect, which could be either taste or texture.  Our toddlers are also becoming leery about things.  At this stage, it is a great time to introduce a wide variety of taste and textures and making sure not to “hide” anything, as this will make them even more leery in the future. Having a clear understanding of what is going on with your child developmentally, is the first step in getting your child to become a confident eater.

Next, Kristen outlined the feeding role of the parent and the feeding role of the child.  The adult’s role is to:
  • Offer a choice of healthy foods
  • Offer enough food
  • Offer meals and snacks at the same times each day
  • Watch and respond to your toddler’s hunger and fullness cues during meals and snacks

The child’s role is to decide on:

  • Whether or not to eat
  • What to eat from what’s provided
  • How much to eat

Once everyone’s roles are understood and implemented, better eating happens. Oh and by the way – you can’t make your child eat…  “whew” I’m not such a bad parent afterall!!!

Finally, Kristen covered common sense strategies.  I’m covering just a few of the many, that were discussed in the workshop:

  • The more you eat together, the better. Taking the time to sit down and eat together shows your child how important it is to eat. It is also important in developing language and social skills.
  • Establish a routine of eating at the table and offer meals at the same time everyday. Don’t snack on the go, for example, in the stroller or in the car. When a child snacks all day long, they are less likely to be hungry at meal times, which can also result in an unhealthy and unbalanced diet.
  • It has to be okay that they don’t like certain foods and spit it out. Don’t comment on it, whether or not they like it. This only adds to the pressure.

Overall, I found the workshop to be of great value and well worth the couple of hours spent.  It dramatically reduced the anxiety and stress around meal times and increased my confidence as a parent.  In the end, I left the workshop feeling that I understood what was going on developmentally with my toddler. I learned a number of strategies to help me help my child and to help me feel more successful as a parent.  If you have a picky eater on your hands and are struggling for some new ways to combat them, I would highly recommend that you spend a couple of hours attending Kristen’s workshop.  You will find it very valuable and it’s definitely well worth the time and money.

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