My teen has always enjoyed fruit but seemed to be eating less and less. Every time I offered, he turned his nose up. Over the holidays this was exacerbated as we were out of routine and there were other things on offer.
It’s one of the things that creeps up on you slowly and then all of a sudden, bam it slaps you and you realise how things have changed from where you’d like them to be.
As usual, I find that when I follow my own advice feeding my boys goes a whole lot more smoothly 😊
I felt like the plumber with the leaky taps in their own house! So, I stopped and looked at what was happening and realised I was not following the strategies I know are proven to work. The ones that support children to eat more widely and more joyfully.
Do you have a picky eater and spend hours looking for special recipes for your child? If so, you are not alone. There are millions of sites advertising food for picky eaters, and recipes that all fussy children will love. But is this true?
For me, it’s usually not about the food at all. The world’s best recipe doesn’t sway a child that refuses anything new out of habit and to protect themselves. If food is difficult, why not say no? If you have a list of favourites that you know you like, why not say no?
When you have a child not eating it's a huge stress. Sometimes it's one meal or a whole day. Occasionally it seems days go by and they hardly eat anything.
Desperately wanting things to change you talk to anyone you can find who may be able to give advice. You have tried all the "picky eating" recipes and road tested every strategy for getting fussy children to eat.
You have probably spoken to Plunket or your GP and yet, here you are still stuck, with a child that just doesn't seem to be able to eat food "normally".
When we have a child not eating a range of foods it can be really frustrating. Often there are one or more foods that are particularly bothersome.
I remember speaking to a mum who told me her daughter hated eggs and didn’t even want to be in the same room as them.
My advice was to gently build up more and more of an acceptance of the egg.
I was talking to a lovely couple last week who are really struggling with their son and his picky eating. They got in touch because when they went away on holiday it really shined a negative light on his eating.
Often, when we’re at home, we make all sorts of accommodations for our child’s eating. Over time we stop even being conscious about how much we are compromising.
Being in a new environment, especially when surrounded by friends or relatives, suddenly shows us how far from “ideal” our child’s eating is.
Lots of studies show that resolutions often don’t work. But then I’m wary of not throwing the baby out with the bath water too!
I take stock and look at areas in life that are causing stress or frustration on an ongoing basis, and see if there are ways that I can improve the situation. A constant re-evaluation of my relationships, my parenting and my business are part of my weekly checks and balance.
If you do have a child that struggles with picky eating, improving that this year will definitely reduce stress and frustration.
I would love to be a part of the solution:
When we have a picky eater, there is often very little good news.
But, I’m going to end this series “Advent Advice” on a positive.
Often children become picky eaters due to factors outside our control. They have sensory issues, reflux, are really anxious or have a traumatic experience, for example.
But, as their most important relationship, there are ways that we can support them to eat more variety and conversely, ways that we, without meaning to, make things worse.
Following an uber strict diet in order to look a certain way or fit into a specific way of eating is often miserable. Denying ourselves pleasurable foods or not being able to participate comfortably in social occasions can make life less fun.
Being a picky eater can throw a child unwittingly into both these categories. Children are unable to eat a range of foods so often get really bored and unenthusiastic about what they eat. They are also often excluded from social occasions due to the foods served.