Tips for dealing with picky eaters.
If you find yourself feeling stressed and overwhelmed every time you feed your child because they are picky eaters, you’re not alone. While serving milk and prepared baby food seems straightforward enough, introducing solid foods does not always mean a seamless transition.
Luckily, there are some tried and true tips you can use to improve your child’s receptiveness. Ask anyone and they’ll tell you there is no one-size-fits-all model to feeding a toddler – especially one with, let’s call it “refined” tastes, for fun. Read on to check out our list of the top five most common mistakes parents make with their fussy eaters to help make mealtime more enjoyable for you and your little one.
Thinking inside the box –
If you are of the belief that eggs and pancakes are strictly for breakfast and turkey sandwiches are strictly for lunch, you may be hurting your situation more than helping it. Try to keep an open mind when it comes to meal prep and listen to what your child says. If your little one adores scrambled eggs and you can’t seem to get him to eat his vegetables at dinner, you can make him this breakfast dish at night and simply sneak some veggies in (shh!!).
Taking it personally –
It’s not because he doesn’t want to make you happy and it’s not your cooking (we think!). Getting upset or angry will only create a stressful situation for all parties involved, and will create a negative association as well. Toddlers are famous for asserting their independence, which is a wonderful quality, and choosing what and when they eat is one way they attempt to assert control. Ego aside, offer choices (always include at least one food you know he likes) so that your little one feels empowered to decide for himself.
Forcing your toddler –
When your child refuses to touch his plate of food, it can feel natural to try and nag him into submission. The truth is, the more you make a big deal out of it, the less inclined he’ll be to oblige and it can make him feel anxious, upset, and more likely to do the exact opposite of what you are looking for. Instead, feign a positive, nonchalant attitude and let some time go by before trying again. The truth is, children will eat when they are hungry and they will come around sooner or later.
Insisting on a finished plate –
You may not realize it, but the portions of food you give your toddler could be too big for them to finish. At this developmental stage, children often prefer to have a few bites here and there and they get full rather quickly. Rather than coaxing your child to eat everything on his plate, let him eat as much as he wants to in the moment, and then check in with him later to see if he’s hungry for more.
Serving the wrong snacks –
As tempting as it is to give your children a bit of the food you are enjoying, it’s important to set boundaries and stick to clean, healthy, and nutrient-rich snacks for your loved ones. If they try a few bites of your chocolate bar or they reach for your bag of potato chips, they will crave these sugary and greasy treats, and turn their noses up at fruits and vegetables instead.
While it might seem just as overwhelming to following these rules as it is to deal with picky eaters, don’t worry. The tricks and tips that work for one parent, may not work for you at all. It’s all about trial and error when it comes to getting on the same wavelength with your children and improving mealtime once and for all. If you would like to learn more about helping your child eat better, simply fill out this contact form to get in touch with one of our infant and toddler staff members!