May 24, 2010

Picky Eaters

Are meal times challenging at your house because your child is a picky eater?

If it's the eating habits of your toddler that concern you rest assured that toddlers are notoriously picky eaters. They'll go for a long period of time eating the same foods over and over then suddenly refuse that food. They may balk when you offer them a new food. What's a parent to do?

Sometimes toddlers are willing to try a new food if they see mommy and daddy enjoying it. If they don't want to try the new food keep putting it on their plate over the course of several meals. Some toddlers need to be exposed to a new food a dozen or more times before they decide they like it.

Toddlers like to fight over food so don't make a fuss about it or it will become a much bigger deal than it needs to be. As long as there's something on the plate that your toddler will eat don't worry. Over time they'll develop an interest in other foods.

If it's your preschooler that's picky about meals try taking them to the store with you and have them select a new food to try. Start with a fruit or a vegetable. Once you've taken that food home have your child help prepare the food. Children who are involved in selecting and preparing new foods are much more likely to eat them.

By instilling good food habits in your young child you will ward off your older child becoming a picky and demanding eater. Often parents try to accommodate their picky eater by making them a meal separate from the rest of the family. Don't allow yourself to become a short-order cook! "But my child will go hungry," insist many parents. It won't hurt a child to miss a meal now and again. He'll eat when he's hungry. Teach your child that you prepare one meal and everyone eats the same thing. If your child isn't used to you approaching mealtimes this way she may raise a stink. Don't give in. Stick to your plan and soon your child will realize they can no longer manipulate mealtimes.

Do not allow yourself to become your child's short-order cook.

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