Fussy eating is one of the few major concerns of every young parent. However, nothing makes parents happy more than their child who eats his food happily. Well, probably it’s the ONLY thing that gives parents maximum happiness. It’s the best feeling!!
As parents, we are constantly worried about our kid’s nutrition. And when a child plainly refuses to eat, we are left with dietary and nutritional supplements. But these are not sustainable in the long run. Hence, it becomes utterly important to teach and motivate them constantly to eat happily. As mothers, we drive ourselves crazy when our child doesn’t eat home cooked healthy food, but gladly eats ice creams, biscuits and french fries.
Although, you must always remember that if the child is gaining height at the correct pace then there is nothing to worry about. The increase in height makes the child appear lean. This is because of the baby fat of infancy is being replaced by height gain.
As long as your child is active and alert, there is nothing to worry about.
What could be the reasons?
- Some children are naturally more sensitive towards taste, smell and texture of the food.
- Children may also develop fussy eating habits by modeling their parents’ fussy eating behaviour.
- Fussy eating habits are more likely to develop when parents punish, bribe or reward their children for their eating habits.
How to create a happy and positive mealtime environment?
Mealtime should be a happy and enjoyable time for everyone. In case of children, it becomes a little tricky especially if you are dealing with a fussy eater. Here’s what you can do to make your child’s mealtime a happy one:
- Encourage your child to eat with the family. Children enjoy the dining table talks. Also, when they observe others eating the same food, they automatically get interested in eating what’s served on their plate.
- Be a good role model. Show excitement towards trying new recipes or dishes. Relish the food yourself and tell your child how tasty the dish is. Enjoy the food and teach your children too.
- It’s good to involve your child while planning the menu. Take your child to the grocery store and fruits & vegetable market. Show him the beautiful colours of fresh produce. Involving children in the buying process gets them pumped to try out the things that they buy.
- Try to involve your child in the preparations for the meal. Ask for small help like peeling peas or taking things out from the fridge. Children love it when they are asked to help like adults.
- Stick to a mealtime routine and fix the meal and snack time.
- Don’t show anger or anxiety over finishing the food quickly. Don’t fret over the mess as the only thing matters is your child eating the food without either of you bickering.
- If your child has favourite foods then try to incorporate atleast one of them in one of the meals. However, trying other food varieties should be equally encouraged.
- If your child loves fruits then don’t say no even if he wants to eat them during meals. Serve any one fruit along with the meal. It’s ok!
- Before serving the food on his plate, it may be a good idea to ask your child how much he wants to eat or let him serve for himself. It’ll avoid wastage and encourage self-eating without fuss. Give small servings so that they manageable portion that they can finish.
- Avoid making your child overeat. Don’t coax, force or bribe to make him eat more than he wants to. Give smaller meals at frequent intervals instead.
- Don’t surrender at once if your child wants to eat only on certain “conditions”. Lovingly deny and explain the reasons to your child. Sit with him while he eats. Have a conversation, share jokes, tell stories, ask about his friends or his day at school – there are so many things to talk about.
- Avoid adding sugar or ketchup to the veggies, curries or dal to lure your child to eat what’s cooked. It might seem like an instant fix for now, but remember if done for a prolonged period then this habit may not go. Old habits die hard. It might cause major health problems to your child in his adulthood.
- Make the presentation of the food more interesting. You can cut bread slices, roti and fruits in various shapes using cookie cutters. Try to add colours to food by using vegetable or fruits pureés. Sometimes new cutlery also makes kids excited about eating food in the new addition to their cutlery.
Do you have any more ideas to share? Or have a question for me, leave a comment below.
– Pretty mumma
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