How to Deal with Picky Eaters

This is a collaborative post.

Dealing with a picky eater is one of the most frustrating experiences that a parent can go through. Our natural instinct is to provide our children with nourishment and when they refuse to eat, we tend to lose our minds.

girl eating apple

If you’re at a loss, try some of these useful tips that will provide you with a guide for handling children who are excessively picky at mealtime:

1. Ask Why

Dinnertime is not the place for huffing and puffing. The ‘do as I say’ rhetoric will not make your children eat the food any faster. Humans, especially small humans, are programmed to distrust the taste of certain foods and textures. You may think that your child is calling a certain food ‘yucky’ just to irritate you, but that may be how they really feel. Ask your child why they don’t like the taste of a certain food before proceeding. Maybe you will be able to prepare the meal in a slightly different way and improve its taste considerably.

2. Eat As a Family

Small children love to be contrarians, but they also love the idea of fitting in with the grownups. By making dinnertime into a family event, you can motivate your child to take a seat at the table and eat just like everyone else. You’ll also find everybody feels a lot better when they gatter at a nicely set able, so don’t forget about eye-pleasing tableware and decorations, which you can purchase on a budget at Kohl’s with coupons. Still, children also crave autonomy and will often refuse to eat if they are not in the mood, so allow them to come to the table whenever they are ready.

3. Set Long Term Goals

Sure, it would be nice if Junior suddenly took a liking to broccoli and decided to clean his plate, but dealing with picky eaters should be treated as a long term project, as opposed to an overnight fix. There is nothing wrong with a child tasting a particular food and deciding that they don’t like it. Forcing the issue will just cause them to dig in their heels more. At the same time, a parent should give their child at least 10 tries with a certain product before they cross it off the list permanently.

4. Give Them Control

Children will sometimes refuse to eat because they feel as if they have no control over the menu. Some parents cave in during these instances and offer their children dietary staples that are not necessarily healthy, but will ensure that they do not go to bed hungry. If you provide your children with the chance to pick the menu and make their own meals, they are sure to become much more enthusiastic about eating.

5. Offer a Variety

Expecting your child to eat every single thing on their plate is a fool’s errand and smart parents know about the importance of variety. Instead of hammering away at one item that you’d like them to eat, provide them with plenty of options. They may not like everything that is presented to them, but they are more likely to become less picky as they grow older.

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