Dealing With Picky Eaters
Seeing your son or daughter eat solid food by themselves for the first time is a magical moment. As they grow up, however, they will develop their tastes (which seem to change almost constantly). So, how do you deal with picky eaters?
We all tell ourselves that our children will only be eating healthy food. I had a conversation with my partner before our son was born where we said we were going to treat fruit as a treat after dinner rather than sweets or chocolate. For the first few months of him eating solid food that was fine. He was just happy to be an independent boy who loved eating without our help. At (nearly) 2 year old, however, it’s getting harder and harder to get healthy food in him.
When we first started weaning, his meal times didn’t fit with ours at all. He needed to eat more regularly so we’d sit him in his high-chair in the living room and spoon feed him. He was never a fan and more food ended up on the floor than in his mouse. Most meals ended in tears too. As soon as we started eating together at the table, his willingness to eat changed completely. Suddenly it was a fun, family activity that he really enjoyed. If you’re not at that stage yet, at least sit at the table and have a healthy snack while they eat. They will try and steal your food which is why it’s important you’re eating something healthy.
Trial And Error
It’s infuriating making a dinner for the family just to see your little one play with it and not eat anything. Although you will usually manage to get something in them, sometimes they will simply not have any of it. We all have days when we fancy, or don’t fancy a certain food and children are no different. If it’s easier to make them a sandwich or something else easy it can be less stressful to just bite the bullet.
Mix Things Up
Just yesterday I made my son Dairylea on toast for breakfast. Within minutes, the plate was empty and he’d walked into the kitchen holding it up to me and saying “gone”. I assumed we were onto a winner there so this morning I did the same breakfast for him. No interests at all. None. Remember though, for every meal they decide they don’t like anymore, another one will come out of “retirement”.
Don’t Give Up
It can be tempting to just give in and let them eat a bag of crisps or another unhealthy snack. This is especially true if they are still drinking milk throughout the day. It’s too easy to just think “it’s fine, they’re getting what they need from their milk”. As we’ve said, giving them something different to eat is fine but make sure you’re making smart choices and getting them to eat something healthy.
If you have concerns about your child’s diet or picky eaters and need help speak to your doctor or health visitor.
For more parenting tips, read our recent posts.
Until next time,