Mealtimes are a great time to get together with the family, discuss your day, and enjoy a delicious meal. However, quality time with the family can easily become disrupted if you have a picky eater on your hand. As a parent, you want your child to get all of the nutrients they need to grow big and strong, but that’s not always possible if they are turning their nose up at whatever you give them. Picky eaters can be frustrating, especially if you find yourself making more than one dish every time you try to cook a meal. In today’s post, we will give you a few tips on what you can do if you have a picky eater on your hands.
At Valley Child Care & Learning Centers, we take nutrition very seriously. We believe that no child should have to go without food, which is why we offer a free breakfast, lunch, and two snacks throughout the day. You could say we know a thing or two about picky eaters, and we are more than willing to work with you to find foods that your little one will love. Learn more about our nutrition policy, and enroll your child in our early childhood education programs today!
Respect Their Appetite
Young children are not capable of eating the same amount of food as an adult, or even their older siblings, and you may be worried about how much food your little one is, or isn’t, eating. Instead of trying to force them to eat more food, or punish them by making them sit at the table until they eat more, respect that your child might not be hungry. Many parents try to force their children to eat food when they simply don’t want to, and this can reinforce a bad relationship with eating down the road. By forcing your child to consume more than they are able, you may make them feel anxious or frustrated with mealtimes, and they may start to ignore their fullness and hunger cues because of the negative association.
It’s understandable that you want to get your little one used to the idea of sitting at the table for mealtimes, but instead of forcing them to eat, maybe just have them sit at the table. You can place a small portion of food in front of them, but give your kiddo the choice of whether or not they want to eat it. This way, they will have the option to eat, but they won’t feel forced, and you will be able to start the routine of eating meals at the table.
Have Your Kids Help You Shop
Your kiddos will be more likely to want to eat whatever is put in front of them if they are a part of the process. Many parents with picky eaters will find themselves making one or two different options for every meal just to appease their children. Wouldn’t it be so much easier if you only had to make one meal for everyone? Next time you go to the grocery store, or plan your meals for the week, involve your picky eater. Have them come up with a few ideas for things they would like to eat for the week so that you have the ingredients on hand. When it comes time to make dinner or lunch, ask your little one if they want to help. If they are involved with the process of making the meal and choosing what they want to eat, then there is a greater chance that they will actually consume the food.
Start With Small Tastes
Typically, picky eaters have a few select foods that they are willing to eat on a regular basis, and as a parent, you may be anxious to encourage them to try new things. It can be frustrating when there are so many delicious foods available, and your little one will only eat one or two, but you have to keep in mind that you can’t force them to try new things. If you want to try and open your kiddo up to new things, then you will need to start small. You want them to try new things on their own, so present your child with small tastes of new foods. Trying to force your little one to try new things will only make them want to try it less. Instead, give them a few different options of food, and let them decide what they do or do not like. If they try some of the foods and they don’t like them, then it’s okay — just remember, their taste buds will change as they get older.
Enroll Your Child at Valley Child Care & Learning Centers Today!
Valley Child Care & Learning Centers has 10 locations throughout Phoenix, making it easier than ever to find the high-quality early childhood education that your little one deserves. When you enroll your child in one of our programs, you can rest assured that they are in good hands. In addition to curriculums that are designed based on the needs of your child, we also hold nutrition and safety in high regard. Browse our website to learn more about everything that we offer, and contact a Valley Child Care & Learning Centers location near you to enroll today!