8 ways to prevent your child from becoming a picky eater
Author: Josh Date Posted:28 February 2016
We all want what's best for our kids and that includes trying to instill healthy eating habits for a healthier life. The trouble is they quite often have different ideas! Here's 8 tips you can try to prevent your child from becoming a picky eater.
All parents want their children to be good eaters, but as parents, we don't always get what we want. Some children eat good from the start and others seem to be picky almost immediately. Even if a child is a good eater in the beginning, as they get older and become toddlers, many children will become pickier
The eating habits of a toddler can also be learned by others in the home as well. If there are other children, or even adults, that prefer not to eat certain things or make comments about the smell or looks of food, a toddler will begin to follow. But there are some ways to try and prevent your child from becoming a picky eater.
Have a set time for meals
|Kids need to have routines. A child's life is so much easier for them when everything happens at a certain time. When you are all able to sit down as a family and eat together at the same time every day, it can be helpful with a child's eating habits. Babies are usually very curious about what their parents are eating, so when they are old enough to have table food, mealtime is a good time to try different types of food.|
Set rules for mealtime
|A good rule is to have the television and other devices, such as iPads, turned off during meal time. Children need to learn to eat their meal without distractions and pay attention to when they are hungry and when they feel full. Another rule may be to have everyone stay seated at the dinner table until everyone is done eating. Adults often eat faster than children do. If you were to get done eating and leave the table, the child may feel rushed. Your child may also begin to feel that they can get up from the table whenever they feel like it.|
Limit the amount of snacks in between meals
|Giving children an abundant amount of snacks in between meals is something to stay away from. It is good for them to have one snack in between meals, but it should be at a set time. Allowing kids to graze all day on snack food will make it so they are not hungry when it comes to meal time.|
Introduce and reintroduce new foods
|It is good to try new foods, but did you know that you should actually reintroduce those new foods on a regular basis even if your child didn't like it the first time. It has been said that it could take a child between 12 and 15 times of trying the same new food before they will like it. So if you have a new food and your child does not like it, you should try it again, and over time, they may change their mind.|
Presentation may be everything
|As children begin to get older, they start to notice the looks of food and decide that they don't like it because of how it looks. Try to present food to your child in a fun way. Try cutting food in fun shapes, like stars or hearts. You could also give them dipping sauces that they can dip their food into. The presentation could also be in the plate that you serve the food on. There are some out there that have compartments or those you can put food on to make a face. Your child could have fun discovering the face beneath while eating their food.|
If your child doesn't want to eat, don't force them
|When your child does not want to eat anything, there really is nothing that you will be able to do or say in order to change their mind. Fighting with them about it can begin to cause some anxiety for them about meal time, which can lead to bigger issues with eating. Toddlers are already figuring out that they do not get to make a lot of decisions for themselves, so eating is something they will fight to keep their independence on. Let them decide if they want to eat and if they do not, you can be assured that they will be even hungrier at breakfast.|
Track what your child eats for a week
|If you have a picky eater, you should track what they eat for a week. When you track what your child eats for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for a week, you will likely be surprised by the amount of food that they are actually eating. You may have some difficulty from time to time with them, but keeping track of their food intake for a week may help to give you some peace of mind about how much they are eating.|
Feed your child smaller portions
|Toddlers eat a small amount of food at a time. The amount of food they typically eat is about the size of their fist. When you put a large amount of food in front of them, sometimes they can feel overwhelmed and may not want to eat. A smaller portion of food feels more manageable for them and makes them a little more willing to eat. If they finish all of their food and would like more, then you can give them more.|
Do what you can to make mealtime positive
|It is important to try and make mealtime a positive experience. One of the last things you need is to make mealtime a stressful daily battle with your child. Children tend to feed off of the energy that you give off. When you are run down and frustrated with the fact that your child doesn't want to eat again, it can have a negative effect on your child's feelings of meal time. This can lead to even more unhealthy eating habits down the road.|
Parents always want what is best for their children and this includes trying to instill healthy eating habits for a healthier life. Trying some of these ways can help prevent your child from becoming a picky eater.