Have you felt like screaming on top of your lungs when the food (which you took hours to make) gets spit out in a second? You can’t shout – You can’t show your anger anywhere, but smilingly cajole your kid to take another morsel.
Yes, it’s tiring – Yes, it’s demotivating and No, you can’t starve them!
How to then make them eat? Firstly, you relax! Here are some simple ways which can reduce (not eliminate) your troubles with a fussy eater.
Children who are fussy eaters (also known as picky eaters) are particular about what they will eat. Sometimes the child will eat a small portion of the food and may refuse to eat at all at other times. Another exasperating trait they exhibit is ‘food neophobia’ or refusal to eat new foods.
‘Food training’ should start at an early age–the earlier the better. This is because children display their aversion to food to every stage of growing up. For instance, toddlers they may refuse to eat lumpy food, while older children are known to develop a passionate dislike for vegetables.
Kids are fussy eaters and they are, by no means, an exception but rather the norm. But fear not, and try out these useful tips we have put together for you:
- Don’t extend your mealtime beyond say, 20 minutes. The longer the child is allowed to linger at the dining table the more likely is she to refuse to eat
- Discourage TV watching during meal time
- Introduce newer type of food at an early age
- Instead of one big meal, have the child eat several smaller meals throughout the day
- Explain to the child how the food she is currently eating is beneficial to her
- Don’t scold the child if she is a messy eater, depending, of course, on what can be labeled ‘messy’ at her age
- Being fussy with food is kids’ way of trying to assert their independence. But, punishing or scolding them is always counterproductive
Finally, never ever try to compensate for your child’s lack of food intake by introducing them to food items like chips, soda, aerated drink or chocolates. If your kid takes a fancy to–as most children are apt–these nutritionless junk, you will likely have a more serious problem than the one you started with to take care of.