Some parents often struggle with mealtime because their kids rarely adhere to finishing meals at the dinner table nor appreciate eating a wide variety of food. It is a constant battle between parent/caretaker and child, and you may find yourself tired, frustrated and at your wits’ ends. Here are five tips to deal with picky eaters:
Avoid placing restrictions on food
Banning foods will only cause your child to be more curious and tempted to try those foods. Instead, encourage them to make healthier choices such as fruit, vegetables, whole grains, lean meat, etc and explain the benefits behind them. Make these benefits relatable to your child by linking it with sports (foods that give him more energy), or appearance (better hair and skin) so that they understand that it helps their bodies directly.
Praise healthy choices
Often, children recognize what is wrong and right based on their parent’s reaction. It is important to compliment your child’s choice of apple for a snack, or choosing to eat their favourite vegetable during dinnertime. Praises help encourage them to recognize healthier options, and in return, they may be more inclined to try out the new vegetable on the dinner table.
Don’t nag and fight
Usually, parents will find it easier to feed their children new foods when they do not fight with them during mealtimes. Try to talk to them calmly and patiently, this will deliver better results than constant fight battles and nagging. Children dislike hearing their parents nag, so treating your child like an adult and talking to them instead will make them feel like they are respected. Remove those dinner rules if you have to because this ensures lesser tears shed on the dinner battlefield. Sometimes you can resist the urge to make them eat a wider variety of food; so long as they are filling their stomachs happily, that’s enough.
Get them involved
Let your child decide what to have during mealtime and get them involved in the preparation of their meals. This way, it gives them a sense of ownership over their food and they will feel more inclined to eat what they prepared for themselves. This is because they feel like they are given authority to decide their meal ingredients and at the same time, you get a little assistant to help you with dinner prep (even though you are never sure if they will be of much help). It’s a win-win solution.
“You don’t need to eat it”
An online article highlighted how picky eating can be put to an end with the six words “You don’t need to eat it”, as experienced by a mother herself. Saying those six words in a mild tone, without rancor, has completely changed her life. This method helps your child to learn to pay attention to their body’s satiety cues and eliminates the ever so tiring power struggle that goes along with getting kids who are picky eaters to eat. You allow them to choose what they eat and with this power of choice, they become more receptive to the food you put on the dinner table. It also helps if you show them that you eat a wide variety of food so that they learn the right way of eating.
Try these tips out and let us know if they helped in the comments down below!