There are so many opinions out there about how to avoid having a picky eater. Honestly, I’ve come to the conclusion that it really is just up to the child’s personality. However, there are ways to help move past it and to set up healthy eating habits for your child. For us, these are the things that truly helped us to conquer picky eating.
To the average person this sounds like something easy to do, but in reality, it can be difficult. If you’re a stay-at-home mama you’ll be familiar with the witching hour (Read my tips for making it through the chaos –> HERE). Giving your toddler snacks during that time is immensely tempting because it helps everyone get through it. I’m not saying don’t give snacks at all, but if dinner is a fight, then it’s a good idea to go ahead and limit them in case your child isn’t hungry enough.
Children learn by example, be that good or bad. It is so vitally important that our children see us emulating healthy eating habits. This is best done by having at least one meal together a day. For many families, dinner time is the best bet that everyone’s schedules will allow them to be together. Let your child eat together with you as a family from a young age so they can see what healthy eating habits really are.
Offer and Offer Again
It is said that it takes something like 10 times of trying a food before a child truly develops a like or dislike to it. I can testify to this being true with my own children. My son Jack wouldn’t touch bananas for the first two years of his life, and then all of a sudden one day he decided that he liked them. He now has one every morning with his breakfast. Don’t give up! Offer and offer again, and again, and again, and again…
Cook The Same For Everyone
Don’t become a short order cook. Toddlers are smart, really smart. If you start cooking them a different meal when they reject what they’re given, they’re gonna start demanding that every meal time. Start as you mean to go on here and don’t give in!
Set Ground Rules & Wait
This is so important. None of the rest of the tips matter if you don’t set this one up. You as the parent need to set your ground rules, whatever they are, and stick to them (See –> THIS POST for how to achieve balance with toddler discipline).
In our household our rules look like this:
- You Get What You’re Given
- You Don’t HAVE To Eat It
- You’re Not Getting Anything Else
- You Must Wait At The Table Until Everyone Is Finished Eating
And then to add to then to cap all those points off I’m gonna say that sometimes it just means waiting. Waiting for your child to pass through a phase. Remain consistent, and trust that you’ll get there in the end. I promise it really does get better!
Until next time!