I have read multiple articles about how generous children are and there is no need to “teach” them to share and care. Now I have had the opportunity to experience it first hand with Disha and all the kids she comes across.
Funny, how one starts noticing, very closely what children other than your own do, when you become a parent.
I think we give way too many instructions to our children. We should just let them be. No pressure. Their interactions with other people and their surroundings is a great learning experience, if you allow for it.
Coming back to Disha, every time she eats, she makes sure that everyone around her gets at least a bite from her plate. She sometimes has her favorites, who have to eat whatever she feeds them irrespective of whether they like it or want to eat. Politely refusing will not get you anywhere. Disha is firm and very sure you need the nutrition :-).
And if she does manage to get her hands on the dish containing all the food, she wants to serve it to everyone until the dish is empty.
Most small children love being messy. We should let them experiment, at least most of the times as long as it doesn’t harm anyone. Disha in the course of serving, manages to spill some food, wipe it immediately with her hand, then wipe her hand on her face or hair. It interesting to think about why she should wipe the spilled food on herself.
She eats her fill, typically on her own, if there is no concerned grandma or great grandma hovering around trying to get her to eat that extra bite. She takes her time, doesn’t like to be hurried. I have learnt to be really laid back, offer the food and wait patiently till she is done with it. A sure sign that she is done is when she stops eating and starts playing with her food (as most other toddlers do). Even if I feel that she has not eaten much or is not eating anything, I just let her be, let her decide what and when and how she wants to eat. This is the best way, I feel, for her to learn her body signs of hunger and being full.
Recently, she has started insisting that Karthik be present at all meal times. The evening milkshake or the morning milk is definitely to be had with appa (father). The moment she sees the mug in my hand, she yells- “appa baa mummum” ( appa come there’s food).