Making GAPS Fun for Kids

Let’s face it – GAPS is for healing. Deep, intense, necessary healing. The purpose is not for having fun. However, with a few tools and strategies, I believe parents can make just about anything (more) fun. Here are a few of the strategies I have used with my kids to bring fun into GAPS.

  1. Pretend that this is the silliest, funniest thing ever. Talk it up before you start. This will look different depending on your child’s age. For my 4-year old, the prep looks like this: “Maggie, we are going to do something SO silly. We are going to eat soup ALL the time! For breakfast, for lunch, for snacks, for dinner. It is so silly. This is going to be so much fun.” It is amazing what kids will believe and go along with.

  2. Make a chart! Use stickers, markers, make it specific to your child. Let them be responsible (if able) to check-mark each of the habits or foods he or she completed that day. (Drinking water, having a poop, drinking stock, etc.)

  3. Come up with non-food prizes. For some reason, our society celebrates everything with food. There’s no actual necessity for that. A new toy, a new head band, a trip to a playground, time playing a game just with mom, screen time, time with friends – whatever would be an incentive to your child can be used. You can also have a marble or penny jar (drop in a marble/penny for each cup of stock and when the jar is full, they get to do ____).

  4. Make food a celebration – the GAPS food itself! As you are eating, celebrate what the GAPS foods are doing in your body. Parents leading this is key. Talk about what the stock is doing, the ferments, the egg yolks, etc. Each one has very specific purposes in the protocol and acknowledging them for their healing properties is important. Get really excited about each new food you introduce. This can actually help their bodies respond better to the food! You can act over the top. For younger kids, this will engage them more. For older kids, this will lower their defenses even if you see some eye rolls.

  5. Have a mantra that you say before every single meal. In my family we use the one that Dr. Natasha recommends in her blue book (with a minor tweak). “I am hungry, I love food! Food that’s beautiful and good! I’ll enjoy it, every bite. My digestion is just right. So I say, GOOD APPETITE!” We then thank the chef(s) – mom, dad, kids who participated. Express gratitude and appreciation for the food and all those involved in its preparation. Mindset is important. You can change this, or come up with your own mantra – make it a little silly, a little loud, very lighthearted.

  6. Have certain foods that are seen as more special (even if used every day) – drink beet kvass out of champagne flutes and (lightly) cheers each other before drinking. Make yummy chewies (what my family calls the ghee/honey bites) in different shapes (we use candy molds shaped as different animals or lego pieces).

  7. Find variety outside of food. Even if you are eating the same foods over and over, switch up whatever else you can. If possible, have picnics, eat in the backyard or the front yard or the balcony. Take the food to new locations. Try eating with your non-dominant hands. Dress up for dinner. Have a candle-lit (or battery-candle-lit) meal. Speak with accents at mealtime. Cheers your mugs of stocks with every sip. Do anything to throw your kids off their guard – kids who are used to complaining will have a harder time complaining when they are focusing on something other than the food.

  8. Create a morning routine that includes something physical. A dance party, a walk, stretching, kickboxing video, playing on a swing set – get physical early.

  9. Implement a nap or quiet time. Even for older kids. Having silence and alone time is always important, but especially during GAPS. It does not have to be long, but giving your kids space to relax, be quiet, read books, draw and recharge will make a world of a difference.

Doing the best thing for our kids can be really difficult. We might want to stop, we might want to give in to their complaints and demands. Just remember why you are doing this. Remember that complaining and whining is often a sign of your child’s body ridding itself of toxins. Following through can be difficult, but you can do it. So many have gone before you, and so many are here to help you see it through. Reach out to us at Be Well Clinic for support, and check out the GAPS Stories book available online or at either Be Well Clinic locations.

If you have found anything else that works for making GAPS fun for your kids, let us know in the comments! We would love to hear from you, and get more suggestions to help other parents heal their children through GAPS.

You are doing well, parents, keep it up!


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