Since my eldest was old enough to walk he has always been very particular about things. His cars had to be lined up exactly the right way, he hated any change in his routine and dinner time was just as hard. Then, being turned into a fussy toddler and it started to get really hard.
At first, he couldn’t eat foods with certain textures, then it progressed onto, he didn’t like it when one food would get mixed into another. For example, he couldn’t eat bread, pasta, minced beef because he didn’t like the texture. This then progressed into him refusing to eat anything but chicken and chips. I spent so much time agonising and worrying about him. When I finally took him to our local weigh-in clinic and he wasn’t at the weight he should be I knew something needed to change. I spoke to the health visitor and she gave me some brilliant tips that have really helped and those are the tips I would love to share with you now.
Don’t make dinner time a battle!
When sitting your little one down for dinner and set the boundaries. For example, “If you eat all of your dinner you can have pudding.” or “ I really would like you to try some of ___, if you do you can have a pudding.” Make it clear that if they don’t eat their dinner that they don’t get a pudding. This gives them a reason to try new food or to eat all of their meals. As hard as it is, make sure you stick to it! When they ask to get down make it clear once more that they won’t be getting a pudding and then let them get down.
Give them a multivitamin with Iron
I must admit that I struggled to get a kid’s multivitamin with iron in it for a child until 10 but I did manage to find a bottle of flavored chewable ones from ASDA. Click here to go to the ones I use. I was told by my health visitor that if a child is anemic it can suppress their appetite. I will admit that I have seen a difference in his willingness to sit at the table and eat something. He also loves these. We call them his magic sweet because they make him big and strong.
Use plates that separate foods
I found this to also be a brilliant idea. This helped reduce his anxiety about food touching which then helped him enjoy dinner time. There are some really expensive ones, but I just got these to try. We got two pack just over a year ago and have only had to throw away one. These are brilliant! Click here to go to the ones we use!
Get them involved in making the meal
I got my eldest involved in cooking school at pre-school. Each week they spend time making meals and baking. He absolutely loves it. I know that not all schools and nurseries offer this, but this is something you can do at home yourself.
I simply brought a set of children safety knives from Amazon. These knives are made so that they cut through food like apples effortlessly, but if your child runs it along their arm it doesn’t break the skin.
We love both getting up together and cooking. He has been taught, how to safely use this knife and he loves being able to get involved. It then makes him excited to try foods as he is cooking and to sit down and eat the meal after. Click here to look at the safety knives.
When they do eat a meal or try something new make it a big deal!
This can be done in whatever way you choose! You can clap, cheer, do a dance, call a family member and get them to tell them or all of the above! I loved seeing the happiness and excitement on his face when we got him to show everyone his plate! We also used a star chart for a while, it all depends on what is best for your child. Now when he does eat his meal he comes running over with his plate!
There is something I really want to reassure you of, YOU ARE NOT TO BLAME!
I spent nights lying awake worrying wondering what I could have done wrong and what I could do to change things. Once children get to a certain age, they like to test their abilities of control and they also like to test the boundaries (as I’m sure we all know too well). It’s normal for children to be fussy about food. It’s nothing to do with whether or not you’re a good parent. The fact that you care enough to be reading this post shows that you’re a good parent!
Guest Post by Jade Wilson.