Meal times can be one of the most trying and stressful times especially when dealing with fussy eaters. We’ve all experienced fussy eaters at times and as babies develop into toddlers their tastes and showing of independence can change. Hence saying no to everything on offer’ ‘Flash back to a few months ago and your little one might have eaten every fruit and vegetable available, however, not now. Now everything is ‘Yuk’ and ‘Disgusting’ (in true Peppa Pig fashion) and the words ‘I don’t like that’ are on repeat from before the dinner plate lands on the table!
Apparently this stage is normal and doesn’t last too long and you also shouldn’t stress about it! (easier said than done we think!) Although it depends which mum or dad you’re speaking to and how recently they have encountered the dreaded fussy eater! As a team of parents here in Heavenly HQ, some of us have been going through this stage recently and we have been looking at ways and means to combat this as quickly and easily as possible so we thought we would share some of the hints and tips on dealing with fussy eaters we have been given! (Disclaimer - we cannot guarantee these will work! We are currently working through the list ourselves!)
1. Patience – although the stress levels at mealtimes may be through the roof, try and remain calm and patient. Your little one may take longer to eat their meal but that’s ok, some little people can just eat slower than others. They may even wish to leave it and come back to it later.
2. Make mealtimes sociable – some of our best memories come from being round the table as a family so try and make this a fun and engaging time rather than a stressful and confrontational one. Encourage discussion and chat and distract from the struggle of eating dinner. Ensuring everyone eats at least one meal together will help develop your little ones social skills.
3. Don’t make a difference – try and eat the same meal as your child so they can see you eating it and enjoying it and hopefully they will follow suit. Making different meals can get you into bad habits and takes more time in the kitchen than should be required.
4. Good Job! Well Done! – Try and praise your little one when they clean their dinner plate or even just when they take a mouthful! Praise is encouraging and will hopefully encourage them to continue to eat!
5. Try not to reward – We have been advised that although praise is good, rewards can be a bad habit to get into and can create an association between food and rewards which is not recommended. So try not to reward eating dinners with a treat or snack!
6. Monitor snacking and drinks – Try and monitor the amount of snacks your child is getting throughout the day and give enough time between snacks and meal times to ensure they are hungry enough to eat. Eating too many snacks and drinks between meals can make them feel full.
As we have said these are only useful tips we have been given by fellow mums and dads, so some may work, some may not but they are worth a try!