Mealtimes must be vital in your home. That should be the one time when everyone gets together and sits down at the table without distractions. The dinner table offers a wonderful opportunity to connect with each other. When children are very young, the parent is solely responsible for what the child puts in their stomach. Below are some of my helpful hints for picky eaters.
· If a child is not hungry, don’t force it on him or her by using bribes. For example, if you eat your peas, you can have a cookie. It sets a bad example for the future. l serve small portions to avoid waste · If your child refuses to eat at dinnertime, make it clear that there will not be another meal served that evening. · Don't offer dessert as a reward because children need to understand at an early age that they won’t be rewarded for eating or punished for not eating. · Refrain from telling your child to “clean their plate”. Meaning, they can’t get up until all the food is gone. Children know when their tummies are full. · Don’t cook separate meals for children. If they don’t want to eat what you cooked, they don’t have to but let them know that they will be hungry when dinner is over. · Don’t nag the child by saying, “eat”, why aren’t you eating? Etc. Encourage them but when dinner is over, it is over! · Finally, don’t feel guilty or give in if your child does not eat dinner and then an hour later at bedtime, wants to eat. (it only takes one time to go to bed HUNGRY to learn a valuable lesson) It’s a TEACHABLE moment so don’t give in to the whining and crying.
To make mealtime more enjoyable use my Involvement Technique by having your child help you prepare the meal or set the table so that they feel a part of the process.
The Five –Bite Technique is also useful when children say, “I don’t like that” without ever trying it. Ask them to take 5 bites and at least two of the thing they say they don’t like. Ask them to try it they just might like it.