If you're consistently feeling stressed at mealtimes consider the following calming practice at the start of, or immediately before every meal for 1 week. That should be at least 21 opportunities to practice and it should not take more than 2 minutes to complete.
Hold for the duration of this little practice (about 2 minutes). When you smile and hold for a minute or two, even if you're faking it, your brain starts to believe you're happy and all is well.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
2. Relax your shoulders-
Lift and roll your shoulders back a few times then forward a few times. Do this while you're taking deep breaths. This releases tension in your shoulders and (along with the smiling & breathing) contributes to a sense of well-being.
3. Deep breath-
Inhale for a count of four, exhale for a count of six. The slower "out" breath is very important. Repeat 6 times. This triggers your parasympathetic nervous system to lower your heart rate which your brain interprets as, "I am safe and calm."
4. Practice gratitude-
As you’re taking deep breaths, find at least 1-3 things in the moment that you’re thankful for. Doesn't have to be complicated and you can get creative. "I'm grateful for my favorite chair I'm sitting in" or "I'm thankful we are able to afford food for this meal" or "I'm grateful my screaming child has big opinions about things." Apparently it's the practice of trying to think of things that you're grateful for that's most important because you're trying to strengthen the pathways in your brain that search for and notice joy rather than all the negative things. So even if your list is ridiculous, probably doesn't matter.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
5. Re-frame you're mindset-
Repeat the phrase, "I get to feed my child" and add it to your list of things you're grateful for. This shifts yourself from the common mindset of, "I have to feed my child" which feels like a chore, to a mindset again of gratitude which reminds you that it really is a privilege. ♥️
Why are you using this mealtime meditation?
Because when you’re stressed and upset, your kiddo is too. Even if we think we are hiding it, our stress is contagious and unfortunately, stress tanks a child’s hunger. So while this may seem trite, it’s actually an incredibly important intervention if you’re dealing with picky eating or common toddler mealtime changes!