By Rachael Robinson
I, along with many other parents, have a fussy eater. Luke is 19 months old and is a very happy and healthy little boy, he just really hates eating any food that is remotely good for him! Over the past couple of months, I have been battling this fussy eating habit of his and I have picked up some really useful tips that have literally saved me so many fits of hysterical crying; and I am so pleased to be able to share them with you.
Your little one is not magically going to change over night, so stay calm and be patient. Celebrate the tiny achievements and ignore bad behaviour. Let’s face it, kids not eating is a worry and worry turns to stress and stress is quickly picked up on by your little ones; if you’re worried about food intake, look at it over a week, rather than daily.
Get your fussy eater in the kitchen.
This is possibly the most valuable information I have received. Children love being in control and nothing is better than having everything on their terms. Testing ingredients, mixing it all up and getting their hands dirty makes food a fun, positive thing. They are more likely to eat it, and be proud, if they have had the fun of making it.
Eat meals together.
Besides it being amazing, lovely family time, eating a meal together with the whole family around the table is really beneficial for your fussy eater. Lead by example and show your child that this food you’re all eating is tasty and after a set time, take away the food. Kids will learn that meal times are set and they cannot graze when they feel like it.
Get your timing right.
To make meal times a positive experience, there’s no point trying to feed a child that isn’t hungry. It’s a great idea to swap their normal snack for something a little healthier – carrot sticks, raisins or some fruit. Make sure your fussy eater isn’t over tired and keep distractions to a minimum.
Exposure Is Key
New foods taste different, smell different and feel different! Exposure is the key; if the food is there, it’s 100% more likely to get nibbled on than if it’s not there at all! Your child may nibble and take food out of their mouth, may nibble and love it or may completely ignore it. Encourage them by talking about the colours, textures and smells as well as shape.
So there you are, these are my top 5 tips for dealing with a fussy eater. If you try and remember these five tips at meal times, slowly things will start to get better. If you begin to feel yourself getting a bit overwhelmed or frustrated with your situation, remember this: there is no quick fix!
I hope these have been useful to you and I wish you the best of luck when battling through your own fussy eating journey!
You can read Rachael’s blog Lukeosaurus and Me including her series Toddler in the Kitchen here.