Ask any mother and she’ll attest to how difficult the mealtime battles with the kids are. The response to any kind of junk food will always be a loud and exciting “Yes!” while the reaction to healthy food will probably be a shake of the head or a full-blown tantrum.
We understand that your child’s picky eating habits can be challenging, especially when you’re trying to feed your child a balanced diet. However, like any good parent, you cannot give in to your toddler’s tantrums and you must find a way to get him to eat healthy food.
That is why we have come up with a few tips that will help you deal with all the mealtime hassles and tempt your child’s taste buds.
A little mixing doesn’t hurt
A big reason for childhood obesity is that many parents, tired of arguing with their children over meals, let them eat whatever they want. But this only encourages the child to be pickier, even after they grow up.
Mix it up a bit. When you vary the meals it encourages your kid to try new things and it will be interesting to them as well. Changing the meal can be as simple as cutting the vegetables into stars or introducing new dishes.
The table’s not the only place to eat
You could –
• Eat at the “restaurant” – move the meal to another part of your house and pretend as if you’re at a restaurant. You can be the waiter and your toddler can be the customer.
• Time for a picnic – you could pack the meal and take your child to the lawn or a children’s park and eat there.
• Have a tea party – a tea party in your child’s room with all the other toys joining for the meal.
No disciplining behavior
Constantly disciplining your picky eater can be a huge mistake. It makes him/her to think of the dining table as a place of argument, criticism and anger. We get it, it can be frustrating, but in the end avoiding disciplining your child in the dining room will be a good decision.
You could –
• Talk to your child about other things apart from just food. Conversing will take the attention away from the food.
• If the child just doesn’t want to eat, remove the plate. However, do not allow him to leave until everyone else is done. Also, do not allow them to eat a snack after that because kids can manipulate this. They can stop eating meals and wait for a snack later.
• Do not bribe your toddler to eat something with the promise of a tasty snack. This will encourage a very unhealthy habit, especially if you’re bribing with sweets.
Consistency is key
The most important thing you need to remember when you’re dealing with a picky eater is consistency. A steady routine that offers your kid three healthy meals a day in between goes a long way in changing their habit. Offer a variety of foods and be firm when it comes to them asking for junk food between meals and you’ll be surprised by the change.