Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Making kids eat their vegetables

It takes a great patience to see my kids eat. Especially, when they have something totally unpalatable - to them, at least - like vegetables. They go real sloooow. It is easy to lose your cool when you suddenly remember that you did the same when you were their age. Parenthood teaches you patience.

To encourage my kids to eat their vegetables, I tell them what one of my professor told our class all those years ago. It was a free period and we were a noisy bunch. This professor was passing the class and peeped in to see what was all the noise was about. He then gave us a small but stern lecture the gist of which I will never forget in my life. He said, "if you abhor study why don't you complete your studies as soon as possible and get it out of the way?"

I tell my kids something similar:

You like ice-cream, don't you? How do you like to eat it? One lick at a time. You savor every lick before returning for the next. Why do you eat ice-cream that way? Because you want it to last forever. You hate vegetables, don't you? So what should you do? You want it to last forever? So? Eat it as fast as possible, so that you can get it out of your sight as quickly as possible. Do what you like for as long as possible. Complete what you do not like as quickly as possible. Especially when not doing (or eating) is not an option.

They seem to understand. Putting it into practice will take time, I know.

Actually, this lesson is applicable to us grown-ups also. How many times have you found an excuse of not doing something that is required to be done but you dislike the act? Like taking down the curtains for a wash. Or standing in the queue to pay the water bill (if you are not using the direct debut, that is)? You would rather do something that you enjoy. Watching your favourite sport being aired live, for instance. This despite the knowledge that issues do not go away or get resolved on their own and will keep gnawing at you till done.

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1 comment:

Ashwin said...

I tried the same technique with my daughter who is five years old. After a long pause she came up with a solution and was "I will eat all my favourite stuff first and at the end will have stuff which I don't like."
Any solutions for this!!!


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