Why We REALLY Homeschool | The Truth

Why We Really Homeschool | The Honest Truth

 

Hi there! Join me this month for the My Journey to Homeschool series. In this series, I’ll be sharing the why behind our homeschool and the process it took to get there.

If you’re new here, welcome! My name is Nike and I’m entering my fourth homeschool year with a new kindergartner and third grader.

Black Homeschool Moms Who Blog

I’m doing this series for two reasons. One, it’ll help you get to know me better. Two, I really need to revisit my why for self-encouragement as the start of the new school year approaches.

Even though this blog is over a year old, I’ve never quite addressed the reason my husband and I decided to homeschool in the first place. I’ve mentioned the benefits of homeschool that appealed to us, such as flexibility and tailored education, but I never really got into the “heavy” stuff.

Well, that’s because I didn’t want to appear anti-public-school. In fact, you’ll read here that I actually don’t hate public school. I’m simply pro-diversity. I believe there are many paths to success and one of those paths includes alternative education.

Nevertheless, as someone who has experienced and studied education at a professional level, I have some pretty sober things to say about the public-school system. As great as it is to have free education in this country, like everything else in life—including homeschool—public-school has its flaws.

The following reasons are ones that spoke to my husband and I on a personal level. They are in no way meant to sway you in one direction or the other if you’re on the fence about homeschool. Instead, my hope is to inspire you to develop your own “why” if you’re feeling led toward the path of home education.

So, without further ado, here are five reasons we really chose to homeschool our two boys.

 

1. We Weren’t Taking Any Chances.

Racial disparity in the education system is a topic no one wants to discuss, but it’s a real concern for many parents who are raising black children in America. In fact, studies indicate one primary reason black families choose to homeschool is due to dissatisfaction with the low expectations for black students and how they are treated in the education system.

The school-to-prison pipeline for children of color is a reality my husband and I had to consider when discussing the future of our boys’ education. Since we grew up in the public-school system, both of us have witnessed this practice first-hand. While we’ve turned out “okay,” we couldn’t negate some of the psychological damage we’ve had to overcome.

If you’re not familiar with the school-to-prison pipeline, it is defined as followed:

“The policies and practices that are directly and indirectly pushing students of color out of school and on a pathway to prison, including, but not limited to: harsh school discipline policies that overuse suspension and expulsion, increased policing and surveillance that create prison-like environments in schools, overreliance on referrals to law enforcement and the juvenile justice system, and an alienating and punitive high-stakes testing-driven academic environment” (National Education Association, 2016)

It is not our goal to shield our children, but rather utilize homeschool as an incubator of sorts to help prevent premature exposure to harmful disparities in society before they are fully equipped to process these experiences and thrive on their own.

 

2. To Implement a Holistic Approach to Education.

Homeschool offers us the ability to prioritize development in core areas that are often neglected. Physical, social, emotional, and spiritual development hold equal importance to intellect in our home. Since public school comprises about 1, 170 hours of a child’s time each year, there’s less time in a child’s day to prioritize development in areas outside of intellect, unless a more holistic approach to education is adopted.

As homeschool parents, we have the freedom to implement a holistic approach to education without competing with the time restrictions of public school. That means having sufficient time to work with our children and be more intentional about integrating all core areas of development into their school day. This practice is often referred to as whole child education.

Whole Child Education in Homeschool

 

3. To Cater to Our Children’s Intelligence.

If you’ve ever studied developmental psychologist, Howard Gardner, you’re hip to the nine types of intelligence. However, while at least nine types of intelligence have been identified and legitimatized, public schools only cater to students who possess logical-mathematical and linguistic intelligence. That means if a child is not a math-whiz or book-worm, the likelihood of reaching their potential in the education system is slim.

So, what are the other types of intelligence that often get overlooked?

  • Naturalist intelligence or nature-whizzes.
  • Musical intelligence or children who are skilled in sound.
  • Existential intelligence or those who are referred to as “life smart.”
  • Interpersonal intelligence or those who are people smart.
  • Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence or those who can perfect skills through a mind-body union.
  • Intrapersonal intelligence or those who are gifted in self-awareness.
  • Spatial intelligence or those who can think in three-dimension.

It was very apparent to my husband and I when our boys were babies what their dominant intelligence was. In short, they both exhibited strengths in spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, and musical intelligence. These are strengths we are able to fully develop by allowing our boys to incorporate them into their learning—maximizing their academic potential.

 

4. To Increase Their Quality of Education.

It’s no secret that as more emphasis is put on teaching to the test, more education budget cuts are being made, and the student-teacher ratio continues to increase, the overall quality of education has suffered. Couple that with a one-size-fits-all curriculum that is tailored for the average student and you’ve got highly intelligent students who aren’t being adequately challenged and low performing students who aren’t having their educational needs met.

This is a reality for many public schools.

Sending our children off to school just to become great test takers was simply not appealing to us. Nor was sending them into an environment where their success depended on becoming “average” students.

 

5. To Establish a Healthy Environment for Self-Development.

Our children are individuals and we want to keep it that way. Unfortunately, in most public schools there’s a “get in where you fit in” mentality where children are encouraged to become carbon copies of each other and individuality is frowned upon.

As homeschoolers, we aim to provide a healthy environment for our children to discover who they truly are and what they’re passionate about—outside peer influence. In other words, we’re removing the distractions and providing our sons the privilege of defining themselves for themselves and growing confidence in that identity.

Yes, peer pressure is inevitable. Yes, children are bound to make poor decisions. However, the more time our boys spend developing in confidence and character in a healthy environment, the more equipped they’ll be to make sound decisions in difficult moments, and the less likely they are to adopt an inauthentic view of themselves.

Homeschool and Self Development for Black Boys


In essence, homeschool enables us to redefine education by making it enjoyable, interest-led, and a natural part of our everyday life. it’s essential for our family to dissociate learning from something you only do in a classroom or to get good grades. Instead, our desire is to encourage our children to become lifestyle learners

As I mentioned earlier, homeschool is not perfect, either. But it is the better decision for our family during this season of our life.

If you’re new to homeschool, you may find the following posts useful:

10 Things You Should Know Before You Homeschool

30 FREE Homeschool Deals That’ll Help You Save Some Coins

7 Homeschool Must-Haves That Didn’t Make Your List

How to Prepare for Your First Day of Homeschool

I want to hear from you: Are you thinking about homeschooling? If so, why?

Homeschool of Shame | When I Lose My Temper

Homeschool of Shame | When I Lose My Temper

Losing one’s temper looks different for everyone. For me, it looks like screaming orders at the top of my lungs when I get tired of repeating myself. I mean, why can’t my kids just listen the FIRST time, right?

I’ve quickly realized, I wasn’t the only one struggling to maintain my cool. It’s quite a hot topic amongst moms, especially the homeschool moms in my circle.

I’ve also quickly realized I didn’t want my emotions controlling me. It’s not a great feeling. So, I set out to be intentional about improving this area of my life. And I’ve discovered that 99.9 percent of this change required daily doses of tenacity, self-awareness, and mindset renewal.

Months later, I’ve noticed a huge improvement in my temperament, and I want to share some of the things that have been working for me. Here are seven preventative strategies I use to keep me from losing my temper:

 

 

1. I expect my temper to be tested:

Don’t we all prepare for things when we expect it to come? A wedding? A new baby? A midterm exam? Similarly, I prepare for a test in patience because I expect it. Each day comes with its own challenges. I can recite all the positive declarations I want, but they will not stop the challenges of the day from coming. What these declarations WILL do instead is prepare me for the challenges of the day. They give me the mindset I need to better manage my emotions and resist the temptation to be quick-tempered. Here’s one of my favorite declarations inspired by 1 Corinthians 13:4-8:

Today, I choose to be patient and kind. I refuse to be rude, easily angered, or keep a record of wrongs. I will persevere through the challenges that come my way because I know love never fails.

 

2. I realize that I’m in control:

Anger is part of being human. It’s a valid emotion. And, while it doesn’t feel good, the good news is that I get to choose whether it dictates my behavior. I’ve learned that anger is not the problem, but rather what I do with that anger that poses the real issue. I’ve learned my negative response to anger is nothing more than a bad habit that needs to be replaced with good ones. Here are some REAL ways I managed to adopt good habits to dispel anger:

  • Give it to God: If you live with me, or are a close friend, you’ll hear me say MANY times, “God, help me!” when I feel I’m about to lose it.
  • Start declaring love and peace: You’re probably tired of me mentioning “declarations,” but the power of the tongue is a mighty tool.
  • Find the humor in it: Yes, I’ve been known to laugh off anger. Hey, it works!

 

3. I let it out:

Even when I manage to keep my cool and the situation has passed, the anger can still linger. This is when I find a safe space to let it out. If I’m in public, a bathroom stall has never failed me. I pray, I sob, and I wipe my tears and move on. If I’m at home, I take a similar approach but in the comfort of my bedroom. My car has also been my “safe place” to let the tears roll and release some steam.

 

4. I confront the offender:

Sometimes, pent-up anger arises when I don’t confront the offender. Maybe I let my kid off the hook one too many times. Maybe I was overcharged and never bothered to go back to the store to resolve the issue. Small things like this can add up in the stealthiest of ways. Trust me, I never realized how much not speaking up has been the source of my lost temper. What I’ve learned is to not “let stuff go” that actually needs to be addressed. As long as it’s done in love, confronting your offender and resolving issues can be very freeing.

 

5. I take self-inventory:

“What’s going on, Nike? What is the REAL issue?” These are the questions I ask myself after I’ve lost it. What makes this measure “preventative,” even though technically at this point I’ve lost it, is that I can pinpoint certain triggers to be aware of next time around. Sometimes, it wasn’t that I was angry but sad, afraid, or discouraged. Sometimes, I realized the anger stemmed from an insecurity. For instance, when I first started homeschooling, I was insecure about whether I was doing a good enough job. Therefore, a child who refused to do assignments or was simply “not getting it” became a common trigger. Once I identified the trigger, it became less powerful and less likely to prosper against me. Wouldn’t you take the bullets out of a gun you knew would be used against you?

 

6. I take care of myself:

Don’t roll your eyes at this cliché tip. You’d be surprised how much a bad diet and no exercise can affect you. I’m in no way perfect in this area of my life. Sometimes I eat that extra slice of cheesecake and skip that evening workout. But I can say with certainty that the more I do it, the more I’m reminded it’s just not worth it. Why? Because I’m keen on how my mood changes when I do my body a disservice. Exercise is one of the BEST ways to release the stress and negative energy that can lead to a loss of temper. I’ve learned to keep it simple, though. A walk around the neighborhood on a sunny day does plenty for my mood.

 

7. I remember that anger is toxic:

Have you ever seen the rice experiment? A man puts an equal amount of freshly cooked rice into two jars. He labels the first jar “love.” He labels the second jar, “hate.” For a period of weeks, the man spends each day saying positive words to the “love” jar and negative words to the “hate” jar. After just a few days, the rice in the jar labeled “hate” starts to blacken and mold. And after a few weeks, the rice in that same jar is unrecognizable while the rice in the jar labeled “love” still looks good enough to eat. The moral? The words we spew in anger are powerful and toxic.  I try to remember this the next time I want to tell-off someone I love. I picture that “hate” jar, I see their spirit, and I imagine how my words could possibly destroy them.


 

And there you have it. These are six things I actually do that work. With any post like this, I must make the disclaimer that if you’re EVER concerned about your anger, you should definitely seek the help of a professional. There’s no shame in that. But for those who are looking to grow in patience, I highly recommend trying some of these strategies out!

 

Have any helpful tips? Don’t be shy! Let us know in the comments.

 

 

 

 

 

Stay at Home Mom

So You Want to Be a Stay-at-Home Mom

First off, I commend you. Making the decision to be a stay-at-home mom isn’t easy. There are a series of what-ifs coupled with conviction and excitement. I’ve been there.

The moment God placed it on my heart to become a stay-at-home mom wrapped me in a swirl of emotions. I never saw myself as the soccer-mom type, but suddenly there I was, knowing for certain that staying home was the best thing for my family—yet still struggling with doubt that triggered from the what-ifs. What if we can’t afford it? What if my husband loses his job? What if I hate staying home?

Let me tell you. All of these things happened and more! But God’s grace is always sufficient and, with His help, we are fulfilling our call to be the parents He destined us to be. Eight years in, and two kids later, I’ve learned some things I’d like to share with you. So without further ado, here are eight things to consider as you journey into becoming a stay-at-home-mom. 

1.    God is with you. When God told Joshua to lead the Israelites into the promised land, God’s exact words were “Do not be afraid; Do not be dismayed. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9). Whenever God gives us a task that initially scares us out of our wits, we can rest assured that He is with us. With that said, being a stay-at-home mom is not easy. There’ll be sacrifices, tough moments, and unwarranted opinions that’ll tempt you to give up. Trust that God will never leave you or your family hanging. Yes, it WILL be tough at times, but it is in those moments that we strengthen our character and persevere. 

2.    You should consider the cost. Going from a corporate job to a stay-at-home mom can be quite the adjustment. You may be accustomed to contributing to your household and, perhaps, having that extra income to splurge on the things you desire. Please, place your desires into perspective and consider the cost of being a stay-at-home mom. Your household budget will likely tighten, but it is set in place to help you afford the opportunity to stay at home with your children. Remember, “Don’t begin until you count the cost” (Luke 14:28). For our family, that meant no cable television, one cell phone and car between us, and many other sacrifices, like dropping my husband off at work early in the morning (6am!) so that I could have the car for the day. 

3.    You may hate it at times. Even people who absolutely love their job have off days, maybe even an off week. Please don’t let a bad day or a bad week convince you that you’re not cut out for the job. At the end of the year, you’ll see that those bad days don’t even matter in the grand scheme of things. Trust me, you’ll have more good days than bad. Remember, “do not grow weary in doing what is good. For at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9). And what is that harvest? All the good things that result from investing time into your family!

4.    Your husband may lose his job. Yes, this happened to us. I want to stress how important it is to have multiple streams of income. The word of God tells us to “invest in seven ventures, yes in eight; for you do not know what disasters will come upon the land” (Ecclesiastes 11:2).   Therefore, consider investing your money elsewhere, whether in stocks, bonds, a startup company, or other ventures God may have for you. Not only will this grant you peace of mind, but you’ll have a cushion to fall on should your husband lose his primary job. 

5.    You can still work. I know that may sound like a longshot when you’re chasing down your toddler, but consider that there’s a time for everything. Of course, when I was a new mom, my main priority was caring for my babies, especially since I nursed them around the clock. But as my children grew older, more independent, and I started getting enough rest, I seized the opportunity to invest in my own ventures to help add more passive income to our household. Proverbs 31 tells us about the virtuous woman who managed to run her home while contributing to household finances. It can be done!

6.    You may lose yourself. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the needs of your children, husband, and home. But you must take care of yourself, first. This doesn’t just mean physically, but also mentally and spiritually. Feed your mind by continuing to invest in the things that interest you. But, most importantly, feed your spirit. When Martha opened her home to Jesus, she became easily distracted by all the preparations she had to do. But her sister, Mary, ignored the preparations and sat at Jesus’ feet to listen to his teachings. What did Jesus tell Martha? “Mary has chosen what is better” (Luke 10:38-42). The lesson? It’s great to serve the ones we love, but never place it before spending time with God. 

7.    The grass will look greener in the corporate office. There will be times when you envy working mothers. Not only do they get regular breaks from their children, but they also get monetary recognition for their work ethic and achievement. Take heart and know that God sees and values all of the work that you do. Remember when David worked as a shepherd boy? It seemed no one noticed when he fought off lions and bears to protect his sheep. But God did! God gave David (who later became king!) an opportunity to shine before men (1 Samuel 16). Remember, what’s done in secret will be rewarded openly (Matthew 6:4).  

8.    This is your calling. Being a stay-at-home mom is not for everyone. It is a calling. Therefore, resist judging mothers who are not called to stay at home with their children. God has a different path for them. It’s easy to believe EVERYONE should be doing what we’re doing when we feel so passionately about something. However, when we don’t consider that every woman has a different walk, we place God inside a box and put ourselves on a pedestal as “the only way to do it.” Even worse? We stifle other women’s passions and pursuits by forcing our own on them. Stay on your own course and fulfill your calling with a joyful heart. “For the gifts and callings of the Lord are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29). 


There’s so much more I want to share, but those topics deserve a post of their own! For now, I’ll leave you with the first eight things God placed on my heart to share with you. Whatever path you’re on, remember not to compare your journey to others. Comparison will always be the thief of joy.  

Join me this month for my new series called “The Better Mom” Tuesdays! Every Tuesday of this month I’ll be sharing some nuggets of truth I’ve learned from being a young wife and mother. You don’t want to miss it! 

 

Free Homeschool Deals

30 FREE Homeschool Deals That’ll Help You Save Some Coins

Homeschool can get really expensive. But the great news is it can also be relatively free!

Read the updated post, here, featuring over 60 FREE legitimate homeschool deals you’ll actually use.

Here are twenty FREE resources to help you save some coins this upcoming school year. Of course, most of these resources require you to at least have access to a printer and some ink. Other than that, all you really need are some basic school supplies.

Taking advantage of free curricula is a great way to test what types of subjects, lesson plans, and teaching styles help your child thrive best.  It is also a great way to save money for what really matters—lots of field-trips, adventures, and social opportunities!

So, without further ado:

30 FREE Homeschool Deals That’ll Help You Save Some Coins!

 

1. Free Homeschool Deals

This site offers free unit studies, supplement materials, and much more. Free resources are available for any subject and grade level.

2. Easy Peasy Homeschool

This site offers free curricula in all core subjects for levels pre-k through high school.  This is also a great site for elective courses like physical education, foreign language, and more. The reviews are mixed on this curriculum, but people like it for the most part. The common complaint is that it’s not challenging enough for advanced students.

3. How to Homeschool for Free

This site offers free unit studies, electives, and other resources for homeschool families. You can find materials in all core subjects for all grade levels.

4. K12 Education

This is an online public school, not a homeschool. Therefore, you will be subject to public school laws. However, this program is great for families on the go. Some people love it. Others hate it. The common complaint is the program can be stressful because there’s too much busywork and not enough flexibility. A great benefit is that you will receive free school supplies, books, and other materials needed for your courses.

5. Homeschool Math.net

This site is a great lesson-plan resource for mathematics. The site only serves up to seventh grade so you won’t find much for high school students, here. The great thing about these lesson plans is they come with video instructions/lectures, as well as follow-up worksheets. You can find any math subject from simple addition to pre-algebra.

6.  Homeschool Buyers Co-op

This site offers a wonderful database full of free homeschool curricula and resources. You can even find promos, coupons, and great homeschool deals on just about anything you need to plan your curriculum.

7.   The Pioneer Woman

This site offers another great database for free homeschool resources, awesome tidbits on motherhood, and more!

8.  Khan Academy

This is free a virtual academy for pre-k through high school students. You may select a course in any core area of your choice, or create a course of your own. What’s unique about this academy is that you’ll find free courses in engineering, computing, economics, and finance, among others. They even have SAT prep and other prep courses for other standardized tests.

9.  Teachers pay Teachers

Not only can you find MY free resources here, but a plethora of other free resources and curricula for grades pre-k through high school.  What’s great about this site is that all materials are made for teachers by teachers. Check out my growing shop to find some free goodies! There will also be an upcoming Back-to-School sale soon!

10.  Encouraging Moms at Home

This site shares an awesome preschool weather unit freebie. Take advantage! You can also find other great deals and homeschool tips on this site.

11.  Midwest Modern Momma

This site shares a free United States unit study that can be adjusted for any age. The study comes with a load of free printables. Check it out!

12.  Cornerstone Confessions.com

If you’re looking for a free science curriculum for pre-k through second grade, look no further. Cornerstone Confessions shares a Magic School Bus science unit for the entire school year! This unit is full of awesome experiments and activities. If you already have a Netflix subscription (or other subscription that offers the Magic School Bus series) this course is completely free.

13. Ambleside Online

If you’re a fan of the Charlotte Mason method, you’ll love this free resource.  This site offers free courses from pre-k- through high school in all core subjects. Ambleside Online also offers free Bible courses.

14.  Budget Homeschool

 This site offers free study guides, lesson plans, books, and more!

15.  An Old Fashioned Education

Are you old school? Well, this is the site for you! It’s important to note that this site is Christian inspired. The site offers core subjects as well as other subjects like etiquette, speaking, and art appreciation, among many others.

16.  Classroom Freebies, Too

This site is a great resource for all things “freebies!”

17.  Curr Click

This site offers free classes and curricula in all core subjects.  I do advise, however, to make sure all the clickable links work for a particular course—especially BEFORE you start depending on them as your homeschool curriculum.   I’ve come across some links that no longer work.  However, there’s some good stuff on this site.

18.  Free Kids Books

This site has a book for every age from toddlerhood through adulthood. And, yes, the books are free to download! Or, you can simply read them online. What I really like about this site is most of the books have ratings. The site also offers a user-friendly category search so you can search for anything from coloring books to early reader books in a jiffy.

Free Kids Classic Books

19.  Lesson Pathways

This is a curriculum-building site that offers free resources for curriculum customization.  The resources offered covers grades K-5. Registration is free and gives you access to some awesome goodies.

20.  Guest Hollow.com

This site offers a free Science of the Seasons curriculum, Geography curriculum, and many others.  There are some great resources for all ages, including high school students. Go take a look!

21. Scholastic

Scholastic has a teacher’s corner that serves teachers of all grade levels. This site is full of lesson plans, unit plans, teacher guides, activities, and more. Not to mention, they offer recommendations on awesome books to accompany your lessons!

Free Homeschool Deals

22. Crayola

Believe it or not, Crayola offers free lesson plans for language arts, math, STEAM, social studies, and, of course—art!

Free Homeschool Deals

 

23. School Zone

School Zone has a program called Anywhere Teacher. If you sign up for a free subscription, you have access to 28 educational activities that rotate monthly. The program connects children ages 2-8 to online learning and resources.

Free Homeschool Deals

24. Hoffman Academy

It doesn’t get any better than free online piano lessons. We’ve personally taken advantage of this resource, so I can truly say that my kids enjoy these fun, quirky lessons. The lessons are step by step and offer units for beginner and intermediate levels.

Free Homeschool Deals

25. STEMfinity

STEMfinity offers a database for all things STEM. Check out their resources for activities and lesson plans for science, technology, engineering, and math.

FREE Homeschool Deals

26. Code.org

Code.org offers free videos, games, and lesson plans for all things code. This site serves parents and teachers of grades pre-k through high school. It is also user-friendly for independent learners. My second-grader utilizes this site frequently to improve his coding skills.

Free Homeschool Deals

27. Scratch

Scratch allows students to program their own stories, games, and animations. The site also includes guides and tutorials for parents and teachers. This is another site my kids frequent. It is very kid-user friendly. My second-grader coded several games and animations using this resources.

Free Homeschool Deals

28. Kidzone

Looking for worksheets for your children? Kidzone has got you covered. All worksheets are printable for early learning through grade five. You can find worksheets on letters, numbers, shapes, colors, and more. The site also offers worksheets for phonics, math, science, geography, and more. Lesson plans and thematic units are also available. This was my go-to source for Kindergarten worksheets.

FREE Homeschool Deals

29. Education.com

Education.com offers worksheets, lesson plans, games, and more for grades pre-k through high school. They offer resources for math, reading, writing, science, social studies, foreign language, and more. Be sure to check out their Teaching Tools section because you can read the ratings and comments on the lesson plans they offer.

Free Homeschool Deals

30. National Geographic Kids

National Geographic Kids is a great virtual dictionary for fun facts about animals, geography, the solar system, and more. The site also offers educational games, quizzes, and videos for kids of all ages. We loved it as a supplement to our curriculum on life science and habitats. We also used this resource to supplement our geography curriculum.

Free Homeschool Deals

 

31. Nike Anderson’s Classroom

As a bonus, I’m including my growing online shop, Nike Anderson’s Classroom. I offer free resources for pre-k through second grade. Check out my free geography resources, reading and comprehension worksheets, memory verse activities, Black history worksheets, and more! Be sure to follow me on TpT to be the first to know when I upload a new free resource. I literally uploaded five FREE resources today, so you don’t want to miss out!

Nike's Classroom


 

That concludes my list. I do hope at least one of these free resources is new to you.

Your Turn!

If you have other resources you’d like to mention, let us know down below! Sharing is caring!!!!

Toddler Diet

8 Tips to Get Your Toddler to Eat Veggies

Let’s face it. The best way to get your toddler to eat his vegetables is to introduce them during infancy. Some parents do this and still have trouble getting their kid to eat the green stuff. Other parents have given in to more pleasant foods at the first sign of disapproval. Whatever category you fall into, it doesn’t matter. The truth is that even with the best diet, some toddlers enter the protesting phase once they realize they have an opinion. While this phase often results in barely touched plates and frustrated parents, take heart—this too shall pass. Here are some tips that may help your toddler adopt a more balanced diet.

1. Be an example.

You can’t expect your child to eat healthy foods when you don’t even eat them yourself. Although this should go without saying, you’d be surprised how many parents actually think this is possible. Children are sponges! Their first lesson on a healthy (or unhealthy) diet will come from you. So load up your plate with the green stuff and be an example!

2. Give them variety.

Sometimes we get in a rut and offer our children the same foods day in and day out. If you find that is you, be sure to add new and exciting veggies to your shopping list. Remember that your child may have a different palate than you, so don’t be afraid to buy those vegetables that you don’t care for—your child may love them! My toddler was the only one in the house who liked raw carrots. Look below at the vegetable chart for ideas from Cooksmarts.

Cook-Smarts-Veggie-Prep.jpg

3. Respect their taste buds.

I get it. You’re frustrated and you have your child’s best interest in mind, but please don’t force (or threaten) them to eat their veggies. Just like there are some vegetables that you like and some you can do without; your child also has likes and dislikes. Take into consideration that it may not be stubbornness, but your child may actually prefer the taste or texture of another veggie.

4. Retrain their palate.

Has a weekend at grandma’s got your child refusing to eat anything void of sugar? No problem. You can retrain your child’s palate by either not offering any foods containing sugar (including fruits) or offering a very tiny amount until they are back on track. Vegetables are less tasty after eating something very sweet. So be sure that your little one doesn’t have any fruit, candy, or juice right before lunch or dinner time.

5. Offer them as snacks.

It may seem weird to some of you, but calling a vegetable a snack may encourage your child to eat more of it. Instead of fruit or crackers for snack time, offer your little one some baby carrots and cucumbers (or whatever they like!). When this is practiced on the regular basis, it may not only get your child to eat more vegetables, but also teach them that a snack doesn’t always have to be sweet or come in a package.

6. Eat together.

Many families these days eat their meals on the sofa or in front of a screen. But your toddler will benefit greatly from seeing the entire family (especially their older siblings) partake in, and enjoy, eating their vegetables—which, in turn, will encourage him/her to follow the example.

7. Explain the “why.”

Some kids just want to know why they should eat something green instead of snacking on cookies all day. Take the time to explain to your child about the good foods that will help them grow to be healthier, stronger, and smarter. Explain to them about the bad foods that should be avoided or eaten in moderation. The downside to this is that they may become the food police when you are hanging out with Netflix and a bowl of ice-cream!

8. Be patient.

Yes, it’s easier said than done, but making eating a stressful time for your toddler is not good for either parties involved. Relax! Chances are it’s just a phase. And remember, if you are truly concerned about your child’s change in eating habits, schedule a visit with your pediatrician to rule out any serious conditions.


 

As a disclaimer, your pediatrician’s advice is the best advice. I am not an expert, but I do have two boys who now love eating their favorite veggies! Let us know in the comments below your tips and tricks to surviving the “veggie protesting” phase.