Is one (or more) of your kids a picky eater? This can be a very frustrating experience. You want your child to get proper nutrition, but they don’t want to eat the food that will provide it.
First, it’s important to understand that, as difficult as feeding your picky eater can be at times, this is a common issue. Research shows there are many reasons why kids can be fussy. They usually grow out of it.
Luckily, this is also the type of problem you can overcome earlier. The following tips will help:
This isn’t a tip all parents will be able to take advantage of. If, for example, your child is over the age of five, this suggestion might not apply to you.
However, if your child is still very young, you can guard against them becoming a picky eater in the first place by introducing them to a wide range of different foods. After all, you probably already know that people tend to stop being picky once they have more experience trying out different types of meals. A kid who eats a wide variety of foods from the start is a kid who is less likely to be picky later in life.
Focus on Praise
You may want to show your child just how frustrated you are with their fussy eating habits. That’s understandable. That said, according to a review of several studies on the subject, pressuring a child to eat will actually boost their odds of being picky.
You’re better off providing positive feedback. When you’re happy with your child for trying (or even tolerating!) a meal they normally wouldn’t, let them know.
Let Them Help in the Kitchen
Many children have a natural curiosity about virtually any product with which they’re involved. You can use this to your advantage by letting your kid help you cook. If they’re involved in the kitchen, they may be more inclined to try certain foods. They’ll also develop a very practical life skill at a young age!
Make it Fun
This is a basic tip that nevertheless works for many parents. If you make certain foods more “fun,” a child will find them more appetizing. This can be as simple as arranging food on a plate so that it resembles a smiley face.
Savor Your Food
Kids naturally like to mimic their parents’ behavior. That’s why it’s crucial that you eat the kind of healthy foods you want your child to enjoy while you’re in their presence. Perhaps more importantly, you need to make it abundantly clear that you’re enjoying the food. This will signal to your child that it tastes good, and it will give them a good habit to mimic.
Just keep in mind that changing picky eating habits takes time. You can’t expect overnight success. If you continue to apply these tips, though, you can expect your child to eventually realize nutritious food isn’t as bad as they think.