It is not a lesser known fact that kids are picky eaters. Feeding them is one of the trickiest tasks and they often turn the dining table into war zones. Spooning food in your child’s mouth is like an achievement in itself as they either will spit out everything you have painstakingly prepared or will out rightly refuse to eat it. In both cases, it is your efforts that go futile. Here are some easy tricks in which you will be able to deal with picky eater kids.
DON’T NAG OR FORCE FEED
Nagging is something that is immensely hated by kids and when you do so, they will naturally develop a disliking towards your idea of feeding them. If your child doesn’t seem hungry, do not force feed a child into having a meal then and there. Smacking and yelling at them for their disliking on the food plate can make them traumatized. Give your child the liberty to cue their hunger times instead of you imposing the right time of hunger on them. We all have days when we do not feel like eating at the right time or simply not eating at all. So if we adults can have such feelings, young kids can have it too and you need to understand that is is absolutely fine.
INVOLVE THE CHILD IN COOKING AND SHOPPING
Small kids love being involved in tasks that adults do. Therefore, involve your kid in the cooking process. Let him/ her wash veggies or roll chapattis. This will be really exciting for them and they will gradually develop interest in food and food items. He/ she will look forward of eating what they have seemingly cooked in the kitchen with you. Take them out for grocery shopping with you and allow them to contribute in picking fruits and veggies in the basket. This will not only be fun but will also be a learning process for you. You will come to know what his choices are and how you can make changes with him.
TREAT THEM OFTEN
Kids love treats. Keep in consideration their likes and dislikes while preparing the food. It is always a good idea to treat them with a food item of their choice. Keep the reward for the last. Ask them to finish the mushy healthy food first and then give them their choice of food as an accompaniment. This is very important to assert your kid’s interest on to the dinner table every day. Once in a while you can treat them with tasty food despite their low nutritional value. It is okay!
BE CREATIVE WITH THE MEAL
Kids always welcome creativity in the meals if it caters to their idea of fun. Fun shapes and sizes of food items always interest them. Serve the veggies with some dips, so that your kid looks forward to eat them. The aim is to associate the food with happiness for the child. So make it as fun as possible. Enact that you are feeding the same food to his/her favorite toy. Keep a separate chair for the toy to be seated and make it a play. This will drag your kid’s interest and mealtimes will be fun. Ask other members to be equally involved.
DO NOT SURRENDER COMPLETELY
This process of engaging your child might take oodles of time and efforts but you have to be patient with your child. It is important that you give him variety of food items and not just feed him what he feels like eating. If you do the latter, then you need to understand that you are cultivating trouble for his future. If you just feed him what he likes, he will have a really hard time when he has to eat outside. Try pairing the food items of his choice with some other food. If he loves chicken or noodles, for instance, then put some slices of chicken in salads or some noodles into some new food.
Mealtimes turning into a battle between you and your kid can become an unfamiliar scenario if you take an insight into the above mentioned. Handling a picky eater is undoubtedly a painful affair but that is how most kids are. Chances are fair that you will lose your cool and smack them as they might just refuse the best of your efforts, but learn to adapt and stop worrying. The good news is that you can alter his food choices and supplement him with nutritious food, all you got to do is keep patience and just make mealtimes fun!
Ashwathi is an enthusiastic traveller and dancer with a passion for movies and music. Hailing from an Army background, she considers herself fortunate enough to have experienced the diverse cultures that India boasts of. She is a graduate in Journalism and Mass Communications and has worked in print, radio and television.