Food & Nutrition Child Developement
5 ways to handle your picky eater
You're not alone. Almost every parent goes through the difficult phase of dealing with a fussy eater. Just when you think you've got it all sorted out by preparing her favourite meal, she decides not to eat it. Fret not, there's always a way out of this and here are some quick simple steps. Take a look:
1. Communicate ask whats wrong
This is going to happen often. On Day 1 she would have wiped clean an entire bowl of porridge and the very next day she decides to hate it. Try not stressing over it. No matter how frustrating it is, ask her politely whats wrong. If she's not too keen to communicate, tell her that you could try and get her a fruit instead. If she agrees, great, else just let it be for a while and come back with some other meal options when she's receptive.
2. Make the food creative
Of course, you plan your days ahead, including meal times. But if you could put in a few extra minutes to make the snack more creative, chances are your fussy eater may oblige. Making scrambled eggs on toast? How about a smiley with tomato slices and cucumber? Give her a bowl of colourful chopped fruits ask her to eat the red ones first (watermelon), then the green ones (grapes) and so on. Engage her during meal times. Making meal times fun and creative with hand puppets and songs could make it an enjoyable and a positive experience for your picky eater.
3. Negotiate the Appetite
Chances are your child may not be hungry after all. Maybe she had a heavy breakfast or a snack in preschool. On certain days it's okay to let go and reintroduce the meal when shes actually hungry and more receptive. If shes sleepy and tired, there's no way that you can feed her a morsel. Divert her attention, or let her have a power nap and then bring in the snack when she's well rested.
4. Set a routine
Children love routine and so do parents. It helps us to stay focused as a family. However, there are instances when we get stuck at work, or the nanny doesn't turn up on time, that the child's routine goes for a toss. This can make the child irritable and cranky as she starts feeling uncomfortable and refuses to eat. Its very easy to lose one's cool, but if you understand the scenario, maybe it can help you to calm down and calm your child as well. Talk to her, ask her when she'd like to eat and what she'd like to have and introduce the food at that time.
5. Offer limited choices
If she's refusing to eat her veggies, maybe you could negotiate with her in terms of what she can eat and when. Giving limited choices helps a child. It makes your fussy eater feel important that her mum or dad is actually asking HER to make an independent decision. Let her make the choice ask her, would you like to have your salad before or after your fish and rice?
There's no foolproof quick fix solution, but if we bear in mind to make meal times fun and creative, by giving them the freedom to choose and fixing a routine, it can considerably help us in having a more peaceful and a fruitful mealtime for our picky eater.
Tanya is a graduate in Sociology from Sophia College, Mumbai and a post-graduate in Communications and Media from SNDT Women's University in Mumbai. She started her career 16 years ago by writing children's books, e-learning, content management for international websites and magazines and writing lifestyle and feature articles. She's the founder of The Lifestyle Portal an e-publishing platform that focuses primarily on entrepreneur profiling, entrepreneur directory listing, workshop reviews, feature stories and more. She's also a Certified Parent-Child Play Practitioner and a Certified Story Teller.
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