This Food Tip “Crisis” Manual for Dads may just be your lifeline if you need a bit of help tending to a lonely, hungry, tired, upset, crying or sick child.
We think you will find the following situations familiar:
Dad may wish for some “me-time” to watch a 1.5 hour long movie or an English Premier League soccer match.
The key here is quantity: There should be enough of the food item in question to last the child for the entire duration of the programme (unless child has dozed off in the meantime).
The snack should also be easily served and not something that would mess up Dad’s (or worse, Mum’s) television couch. Clearly, ice cream is strictly forbidden for this occasion.
If possible, the snack should be shared by both Dad and child.
Suggestion: A large box of sweet/savoury/mixed flavour popcorn, enough for Dad and child.
Scenario 2: Dad is home alone with Child; Mummy is not home yet
This is the best time to strengthen the Father-Child bond. There is little harm in sharing a secret pact between Dad and child, such as (err…) a tiny-weenie bit of the (restricted) snack that Mom would not ordinarily permit in the household.
Yes, ice cream (forbidden in Scenario 1) gets a raving welcome back in Scenario 2! Dads could use a bit of creativity here and do better than serving up a single plain vanilla scoop…
Adorn the snack with toppings of the child’s favourite fruits such as a whole banana, pieces of apple, pear or a luscious red cherry. Chocolate wafers or strawberry syrup would also do the trick!
It is also important to involve the child in the preparation: Get him/her to add the “decorative” pieces to dress up the serving a little!
Suggestion: Buy a few tubs! Watch out for supermarkets’ “Two Tubs for the Price of One!” promotions.
Scenario 3: Dad driving alone with Child in car
A car is sometimes a father’s beloved “second wife”.
Thus, the key here is to consider only non-messy and non-crumbly foodstuff, so as to minimise any chance of dirtying the precious car or inviting unsavoury and unwelcomed visitors like cockroaches.
The snack also needs to last the child from between 15 to 30 minutes – the average time needed to complete most car journeys in Singapore.
Suggestion: a) Soft natural yeast bread in assorted swirled-in flavours such as chocolate, maple or cinnamon etc. (eg. Dayplus brand of individually-packed bread); b) Oven-baked sticks, preferably the plain kind without any chocolate or syrup coating (eg. Glico Pocky sticks).
Scenario 4: Dad enticing crying Child to go to school or out of toy store
Most Singaporean parents would have experienced this situation at some point in time.
One good way to calm the crying child who refuses to be separated from the latest “must-have-wonder-toy” is to entice him/her with another equally wondrous and fascinating item of desire.
The (substitute) snack should ideally be an item that is small enough to keep in bags and out of sight of the child, only to be whipped out and used in an event of “emergency”.
Suggestion: a) “Gummy Bears” chewy candy; b) Individually-packed mint sweets (eg. Mentos) in the child’s favourite flavour.
Scenario 5: Dad encouraging Child who refuses to eat or drink to, well, eat and/or drink
It would be useful to find the snack that would whet the child’s appetite, preferably something appetizing and complementary to the meal.
The following savoury or sweetened items have proven to be rather effective and suitable, especially when eaten with good old plain porridge.
Suggestion: a) Unsalted seaweed; b) Yeast extract spread (eg. Vegemite/Marmite/Bovril); c) Pork/chicken/fish floss; d) Small pieces of sweet/barbequed meat.
Scenario 6: Dad home alone and caring for sick Child
This is perhaps the toughest situation as the child may be moody, easily irritable or missing Mum.
So, Dads should bear in mind that what ought ordinarily to have worked, would likely fail on such occasions. Improvisation, creativity, modification and/or adaptation is vital.
The following items have been found to be particularly handy to Dads caught in such predicament.
Suggestion: a) Light cheese slices/cubes/triangles (eg. The Laughing Cow mini portions/dippers); b) Cookies with milk (eg. Oreo); c) Chocolate/peanut butter spread with wholemeal bread (eg. Nutella/Skippy).
Scenario 7: Dad and Child just having fun eating together
The key element here is simply to have fun!
Dad and the child can take turns feeding each other, or play a game where the one who answers a riddle correctly gets double the number of food items.
The longer the game is played, the more Dad and child can “stuff” themselves silly, and have a good roll-about laugh! The food item should also be easily consumable in small bites.
Suggestion: a) Spoonfuls of healthy, steamed sweet corn; b) Crunchy carrot or celery sticks; c) Unsalted mixed nuts.
This “Crisis” Manual has been specially created to let Dads chill a little!
About the Author: The Dads for Life Resource Team comprises local content writers and experts, including psychologists, counsellors, educators and social service professionals, dedicated to developing useful resources for dads.
First published on 18-05-2013.
Categories: Ages and Stages