“Mommy, I don’t like this” Tips for parents of fussy eaters.
Who has not heard their kids say at least once “Mommy, I’m not eating this, I don’t like it!” We don’t think there’s a parent in the world who hasn’t worried about a toddler who refuses to eat or even taste food.
Sometimes getting your kids to eat is a battle of wills: they wiggle, kick, throw the cutlery on the floor and spit food. Most of the time, it’s just your child throwing a tantrum about food he doesn’t want to eat or even taste for lots of different reasons.
What can parents do with a fussy eater?
Firstly, don’t panic! In the first year of life, after weaning, children familiarize with food through repeated exposure to its taste, texture or appearance Familiarizing with food is therefore based on sensory data, without additional or more general information (a “cookie” is only a cookie if it’s looks like one).
Food neophobia is generally regarded as the reluctance to eat, or the avoidance of new foods, and may start at about 18-20 months, when your child starts to explore. Your child may refuse to eat certain foods or say that certain foods are “disgusting”.
How can you get to child eat more than just the one or two things he really likes?
- If your child is not hungry, don’t force him to eat a meal or give him a snack. Don’t force him to eat certain foods or everything on his plate. This could trigger a power struggle over food making him anxious and frustrated at mealtimes. Give small portions so that your child doesn’t feel “overwhelmed” by too much food on his pate - far better if he asks you for more.
- Give your child the same food as the rest of the family. Curb the urge to give your child anything he wants just to make him eat: children must eat what the rest of the family is eating.
- Your children should sit at the table at mealtimes, even if they aren’t eating; in this way they won’t want to run off to play!
- Go shopping with your child. Get your children to help you choose fruit, vegetables and other healthy foods; ask them to help you in the kitchen, because eating foods they have helped to prepare and cook is so much more fun.
- The best way for your child to learn to eat and enjoy new foods is to copy you so set the example; don’t eat too many “junk foods” and keep healthy foods in your kitchen.
Last but not least, stay calm (even if it’s very frustrating at times). Just take the food away without saying anything. Try the food again another time. Getting upset will just have the opposite effect.
These are just some tips that may be useful. We’d love to know what you do with your fussy eater.
Moms and Dads: let us know!