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The Simple Trick to Finally Getting Your Kids to Eat Their Effing Dinner

Photograph by Twenty20

One thing most parents learn pretty quickly is to never run out of snacks. We know when to pack the snacks, what to pack and where to place them for easy access. We know even a quick trip to the library can be risky without taking emergency snacks. All over the world, moms' purses contain a mixture of nut packets, fruit snacks and granola bars.

Basically, our lives revolve around snacks. But there's a definite downside to hauling around snacks all day long.

After constantly being armed with food so my three kids wouldn't have a meltdown, I found that my kids never wanted to eat during mealtime. They were becoming super picky and asking for snack foods like raisins and cheese sticks instead of the nice meal I would make for them. And, for any mom that's been through this dinnertime battle, you know it's just the worst.

I also noticed they were just asking for food or opening the pantry door as soon as they got a little bored. Instead of reaching for a toy or trying to come up with something to do, they were asking for a juice box and crackers.

It didn't take long for my kids to realize the new routine and dinnertime changed. My kids finally stopped complaining and started eating their meals.

It wasn't until a friend of mine who had pulled the plug on her kids' snacking said to me, "There really isn't anything wrong with being a little hungry sometimes," that I realized I had been doing it all wrong this whole time.

So, I cut the snack cord. And it totally worked.

It didn't take long for my kids to realize the new routine and dinnertime changed. My kids finally stopped complaining and started eating their meals. They actually now had room in their stomachs that wasn't crammed full of snacks. It was life-changing for the whole family.

I now know there's no harm in letting my kids complain about being a little hungry. I learned I was setting them—and myself—up for a hellish meal time because they weren't hungry enough to eat and snacking became their new normal. I was finally free from always having to worry about packing snacks or reminding the kids to grab something.

The kids are happier because they're finally eating more actual meals and I'm happier because the dinner I slaved over isn't just getting scraped into the trash. We all know a win for Mom is a win for the whole damn family.

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