I've got a fun Mom to Mom topic today. When is it time to introduce the concept of "dessert" to your little one? Sure, you can hide it for a while when they're young, they don't see you positioning yourself behind the counter while you scarf down a cookie or a chocolate bar, but you can't keep dessert a secret forever.
I have kids on very different ends of the "dessert spectrum."
My first child...
She is a dessert-a-holic. I can't remember but pretty early on I wanted her to experience her first lollipop, her first taste of ice cream, her first chocolate...and now I deeply regret it.
Now, at age 10 yrs, and for a long long time, she's refused to accept that there is NO dessert at every meal. In fact, she prefers if you bribe her with dessert to make her eat her food. She's been the pickiest eater and boy, hindsight is 20/20.
I don't know if it's true for everyone, but we made a mistake, we introduced the "dessert comes after dinner" concept and she's NEVER let us forget it.
My sons are twins, so I got child 2 and 3 at the same time. When they were born my daughter was 3 and a 1/2 yrs old and at the peak of her picky eating. Every bite with her was a chore, a fight, a lesson in patience and parenting, but with my sons, we vowed to do things differently.
Dessert, although their sister got it, we kind of protected them from the idea of it for quite some time. They often would eat and go to bed without it, without asking for it, and without even really knowing they could.
As they got older, dessert for them turned in to something they got to choose and often it was frozen blueberries, an apple or crackers with peanut butter.
To this day, unless we have a fresh baked cookies or some other rare treat, they continue to choose apple sauce, yogurt with honey or something else delightfully NOT junk food. In fact, the other night one asked for a pickle for dessert and the other asked for a hard-boiled egg.
I'm certainly no expert but I know what worked for us and we continue to see benefits from raising them without knowing that dessert = junk food. My daughter, well she takes after me, and is and will continue to be a WHOLE other story...lol
What are your family's practices on dessert? Do you offer one every night? If so, at what age? If not, do you plan to? Please share with me your thoughts on this.
Melissa Schultz Date 10/7/2013
My baby is not at the point of eating solids yet, so I'm glad to be reading this post now and will benefit from your experience and advice! Thanks for sharing!
Esther Date 10/7/2013
I don't think you should fully blame yourself for your daughter's preferences. I do think that some people (and kids!) have more of a sweet tooth than others. My daughter has always had a strong sweet tooth, but we just don't give her the unhealthy choices that she would prefer.
That said, I strongly believe in educating your children in what is healthy, and what is not and why. But don't do it in a way that comes across as negative. There aren't many things that my kids are absolutely not allowed to have, but there are MANY that count as treats and they are allowed only on rare occasions. (eg. Absolutely NO pop allowed. Fruit snacks? A treat, not a snack).
Hillary H Date 10/8/2013
We do fruit for desserts, bananas are my daughters fav. however she is only 1 1/2.
MARY S Date 10/8/2013
We started Baby Led Weaning with our son at 6 months. I definitely don't like my MIL and DH constantly teasing me about giving him brownies and doughnuts. When he's a year I'll let him have a cupcake for his birthday, but until then I definitely want to encourage him to try all the other foods out there that are delicious AND good for him.
Rachel N Date 10/8/2013
My kids are ages 3.5 years and 2 years old. We only have dessert when we have company and then they only get it if they eat their meal. They don't ask for dessert since it is not a normal thing. They do ask for snacks though, we pick healthy snacks 90% of the time but I do let them have the occasional cookie.
Sarah Jane Date 10/10/2013
We usually don't have dessert, but I have bribed my daughter in order to potty train her.
Kimberly Rimrodt Date 10/14/2013
10 months, & so far, Cheerios are as "desserty" as we get. He's had crumbs of birthday cake at parties, but that's about it.