Have a picky eater at home who only wants to eat ONE thing or doesn’t eat ANYTHING? Assuming that your child doesn’t have any health related issues (allergies, food sensitivities etc..) this is a behavioral issue because a child knows that the fussier they are and the more tantrums they throw, the more likely the parent is going to give in. Do you give in all the time? Do you give in some of the time?
I don’t give in as I want my 3.5 year old to really learn to eat different stuff and eat a balanced diet. Some days it is a power struggle when I don’t want my child to eat only plain white rice for dinner for the 3rd day in a row for instance. As a result there have been a few instances where my 3.5 choose to not eat and I felt like the worst mom in the world for starving my kid. But I have also come to realize and accept that no kid is ever hungry. When they are hungry – you WILL know.
So what can you do to deal with your picky child?
- Serve what’s cooked to the child but don’t call out attention to the child to eat. If the child doesn’t eat, it’s okay. They will get hungry eventually and you can then tell them that it’s not dinner time and they have to wait till when the next meal is served. This is a tough one to do…especially when the apple of your eye is hungry but perhaps having strict guidelines on timmings might get them to eat.
- Don’t be a short order cook. Do not cook what the child asks for because at that point you have basically given up.
- Reward your child for eating. There’s a lot of research that says that don’t tempt your child with finishing dinner by offering dessert as that will let them associate dessert as something good and dinner as the means to get to it. There’s no reason to not reward the child with a toy, or a visit to some place or a sticker etc… I bought my daughter a pillow pet (retails for about $15), one of the most sought after xmas gifts this holiday season, and she only gets to sleep on it every night if she eats enough calories (healthy calories included) during the day.
- Make what the child likes healthy – If your child likes Mac n Cheese add pureed spinach to it or grate carrots and zucchini in it. A child is far more willing to try new things if it is introduced with their favorite food.
What do you do to get your kid to eat?