Turn Your Picky Eater into a Mealtime-Lover
Constantly reminding your child to eat and continually bringing a spoon to your child’s mouth creates both resistance and stress, which is most likely the opposite of what you’d like to achieve as a parent. With this in mind, it’s important to redefine your child’s mealtime identity to a more positive one that encourages participation in making meals and places emphasis on being together and enjoying each other’s company as a family.
It’s Simple. Make it Fun!
Providing opportunities to partake in the preparation of meals such as scooping, mixing, pouring and even setting the table is empowering to a child. These simple tasks are fun, promote positive adult-child relationships, nurture independent skills and, most importantly, offer a child a sense of control over the perceived antagonist, which is food. It is also significant to note that a parent’s worry about adequate nutrition is very real, however, the anxiety that it produces during mealtime is toxic and, truthfully, does not assist in building a child’s desire to eat or to gain weight. In order to permanently change the mealtime atmosphere a parent must refrain from feeding and harping on a child to eat.
Instead, make mealtime conversations about sharing the events of the day, telling funny stories or even mommy and daddy enjoying and describing the deliciousness of their own food. Adult modeling is a useful instrument and allows a child time to observe and interpret without feeling obligated or coerced into eating. Once the pressure is removed from a child, so too will the tension during mealtimes. Focus on acknowledging a child’s presence and enjoying her company and, before you know it, your little one will move from a hater of foods to a lover of mealtime.