Make Mealtime Family Time

Busy schedules can make it tough to do, but eating together as a family can have a positive influence on your young child's eating habits. Here are tips for making the most of family mealtimes:

Give young children a job, such as putting napkins or silverware on the table. Make your child feel part of the process.

Serve food family style, and let your child decide how much he can eat. We overwhelm children when we give them portions that are too big. Trust them-they know what they can handle.

Be patient when your child is trying a new food. Research shows that it takes eight to 10 tastes-a lick, a bite, or a spoonful-for a child to accept a new food.

Experts advise introducing new foods twice a week. Pair a new food with a familiar food, and let your child help prepare the new food. Positive comments about the food from other family members also help.