Do you struggle with picky eaters in your house? If your children are anything like mine you just never know what dinner time is going to be like from night to night. On Monday they may beg for seconds even though it’s something they have never eaten before. On Thursday the little red horns appear on top of their head and they may tell you “that’s isgusing” (Xander’s way of saying disgusting) and push their plate of spaghetti toward their sibling. Seriously it’s like toddler press your luck. You never know when the whammy is going to appear! Here are some simple tips to help keep your sanity while feeding your picky eater.
1. If your child has a difficult time transitioning from play to the table at mealtime create a structured routine and stick to it. The easiest way to do this is to create and post the routine list with (pictures or words) in the kitchen. Here is what a routine may look like:
- Wash hands.
- Select plates and utensils.
- Put food on the table
- Pour drink.
2. Provide your child with at least one food they enjoy. Do not make something special for the picky eater. This just adds to the problem.
3. Do not make mealtime stressful. Avoid forcing your child to eat new foods.
4. Never discuss eating habits or how much your child eats during the meal. Meals are not a time to focus on the resistant eater.
5. Avoid distractions at the table. Turn off the TV and consider dumping your cell phones in a basket away from the table. Pay attention to each other and your food.
6. Never place food into your child’s mouth. It is his or her responsibility for eating. Respect their boundaries.
7. As much as possible, sit down and have at least one meal together each day. You are setting a good food role model for your child. Need some inspiration for table conversation? The book Family Dinner by Laurie David is loaded with fun dinner table games and family recipes.
8. If your child has difficulty eating texture foods, gags or chokes during mealtimes they may have a feeding disorder. Talk to your pediatrician about a referral to see a Speech-Language Pathologist.
9. If your child is old enough have them help with meal planning by letting them pick out at least one meal.
10. As a family create mealtime table rules. Here is a free printable for mealtime rules to get you started!
For more tips to help keep your sanity while trudging through this phase in your child’s life Dr. Sear’s has 17 more tips for picky eaters! Also check out these fantastic recipes for children who are picky eaters.
Next Week on Mommy Minute Monday:
* Special guest post with pediatrician Dr. Gilboa , who will be answering your number 1 top feeding question.
* DVD giveaway that may just get your child excited about eating their fruits and vegetables.