My son is 4 years old and until recently he has always been easy to feed and has a ridiculous appetite for such a little guy. Lately though he’s become a picky eater. He’s decided that he “hates” most things we serve. We’ve had a few power struggles at meal time and I can see how dealing with a picky eater can quickly get out of hand. Naturally I resorted to command and demand approach which had the wonderful effect of frustrating me and upsetting him. Something had to change.
What we did
I did the obvious thing and consulted an expert….I googled it and found this fantastic article
In a nut shell this article talked about how kids are learning control. We insist on self control and motor control why shouldn’t they try to control their eating? The article mentions giving them choices and making them part of meal prep to feel in control. Normally I’d fill my sons plate put it in front of him then demand he eat it. Terrible!
Here’s the result
Well right after I read the article I tried something new. I asked my son what he wanted on his plate. He was allowed to fill his plate as he saw fit with what was available. He balked at the salad but I reminded him that one of our rules of life is “you gotta try”. I offered a bit of his favourite dill dressing and he grudgingly agreed to “try one bite and that’s it!”. Well he ate the entire bowl full along with most other items on the plate.
This was turning out to be a big win. Fast fwd a few weeks and this is going really well. There’s still the odd thing he’s not thrilled about but its not a big deal any longer. We aren’t bribing him with desserts or negotiating “3 more bites” (which I think is nuts since I don’t know how hungry he is). We simply state: “ This is dinner you can take what you like but this is what we are eating”.
We’ve also included him and his sister in our meal planning and prep. Once a week we meal plan and we include our kids in the process. They get to choose something we eat during the week with some guidance to ensure its healthy. Then when its dinner time we ask for their help in prepping and setting the table. He’s learning how to help plan and prep dinner along with filling his own plate and deciding when he’s full with the added bonus of learning a bit of self control along the way……..
I hope this helps.