They are the bane of any parent's existence.
Every night is like a battle. You sit on your side of the table in the never ending standoff. Suzy looks back at you with defiant eyes, making a variety of face contortions to demonstrate her disgust with what you have placed on her plate. If that doesn't work, she might resort to the 'whining and flailing tactic' or the more passive 'feed it to Sparky when you’re not looking' manoeuvre.
And there you are sitting helplessly on the other side; wondering if she is going to grow to her full potential living on PB&J sandwiches alone. You sigh in defeat as you watch her pick the mushrooms out of the casserole you were convinced you had hidden.
You've tried everything: bribery, begging, trickery, bargaining and yet nothing ever works. Believe it or not, you may actually be doing the very things that make this situation worse. Don't worry, you are not alone. Children are small but they are smart and I want to help you out smart them.
I warn you....there will be screaming, possibly tantrums and even the chance the broccoli will be flung back at you, but fear not. If you hold your ground, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Today, let's start with the things that tend to make things worse. We'll talk about the things that help in another post.
“No dessert until you eat your broccoli”. If you start bargaining like this, your child may become more resistant to trying the food, feeling it’s a punishment.
2) Making a big deal out of things
I know it’s a miracle when they actually try the food, but if you make a big deal out of the fact they are eating the veggies (even if you are praising them), you are making a big deal out of something that should be a common part of their lifestyle. If they think it’s a big deal, they may use it as a form of control later on you.
3) Loading them up on juice and milk
If Timmy is full from juice and milk earlier in the day; he will be more prone to being picky. Juice should be limited to ½ cup/day and milk to 2 -3 cups/day. Otherwise it’s good old fashioned water.
4) Catering to their desires
You don’t want to make your child feel like they can expect a special meal every day. I promise you NO CHILD WILL STARVE THEMSELVES. They may put up a good act, but they will eat. Food is one of the few things a child can try and control, but you need to stick to your guns. Include foods they like with the meal, but it should be part of everyone’s meal and not just your child’s meal.
5) Giving up after the first try
Kids are more willing to try foods than you think. It may take a dozen times before they eat it, but the more you offer it, the more likely they are to try it.
Sometimes dealing with picky eaters seems like an endless battle, but I assure you, you can overcome this. The most important thing to remember during this is DON'T PANIC!