It's the first day of school holidays and I'm feeling quite flat and tired. It's been a mad 2 months with lots of late nights and weekend work.
Although it's "holidays" that's not what ends up happening for many parents. Yes, the kids are no longer in their routines, but we're still stuck in ours :)
My boys are getting older now. This makes many things a whole lot easier. They are more independent, can do most things for themselves and are less likely to need me to entertain them.
More and more I am realising (and as usual we don’t know what we don’t know) that even the most intuitive, connected and well-researched parents of picky eaters are missing critical messages from their child when it comes to steps forward in a food sphere.
Last night I was working with a lovely, young couple who have an almost 4 year old, Barrett *. He is like many children from the families I work with. He loves carbs, he doesn’t like meat except in a special pasta sauce and he eats no fruit or veg. He does drink orange and apple juice on occasion though.
Yesterday as my husband and I were nagging my youngest (for the 17th million time) about how he would have to tidy his bomb-site of a room he said ... "maybe I'm just a messy person".
Telling ourselves these things can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
A lovely lady in one of my business groups donates a birthday cake every week to one of the families in need through the charity He Korowai Whakapono.
I have been wondering what I could do (cakes are not my thing!!) and as it turns out, the solution was very simple. A basket of basics each week.
Every weekend I'll be putting together a basket from The Confident Eater and so wanted to say thank you to everyone who has worked with me or bought a book. That makes this possible on an ongoing basis :)
If we want to make changes to how our child eats I always recommend school holidays as a good time:
- less overwhelm. Our child has less additional stuff going on.
We all have habits around food. Whether it be a favourite mug for the coffee or eating the veggies first. When we analyse our behaviour, there are often a host of things that we prefer to do a certain way.
If we have a child who is a picky eater then they are also building habits. Some of these may lead to eating less variety.
Like us, the longer they do something for, the more ingrained it becomes and the more challenging to change.
Every time I go onto a forum about picky eating I see a dozen posts that go something like this "my son is a really picky eater, what can I give him for breakfast?" "My daughter has stopped eating at school, what snacks can I send?"
I appreciate that as parents of fussy eaters we are often feeling really desperate. We want answers and we want them now. A first thought is often - what is that food that will magically get our child eating?
When I see these questions I always think 2 things:
I had a lovely chat yesterday to a mum who had bought our book, Creating Confident Eaters.
She told me that she hadn't realised just how rigid her 10 year old son's approach was to food until she tried to change it.
She also hadn't appreciated how much she had bent to fit his preferences.
It is moments like these that are often light bulb moments, when we realise that often our children's habits around food are ours, or ours theirs.
I totally agree with Jenny in regards to the reliance on BMI.
Many parents are sent away, their concerns not taken seriously because their child gets ticks on the height and weight charts.
Yes, if our child is growing that's good. But surely it is only part of the puzzle?
Again, I want to stress here that the likelihood of our child becoming blind even on a very limited diet is incredibly rare. Do not panic. If you have a child that avoids whole food groups and are worried then do see your GP or a dietician for reassurance.
Judith is passionate about good food and is even more passionate about enabling other people to enjoy the wide variety of fresh food available today.