DO YOU HAVE A PICKY EATER? DO YOU SOMETIMES BLAME YOURSELF FOR YOUR CHILD’S FUSSY EATING?
I know it can sometimes seem like everyone else’s children eat everything and yours just won’t.
But it’s really not true – limited food choice is extremely common in young children
It could also be that your child just has a very different innate temperament to other children. In particular, if they are naturally more cautious and/or sensitive, this can make eating very challenging for them. Different textures and unfamiliar foods can be quite overwhelming, and the fear of these new foods can quickly become habitual and result in very rigid eating.
Some children have even been found to be ‘supertasters’ in that they have extra sensitive taste receptors and so they experience food in a very intense way.
So if this is the case, one of the most helpful things you can do is to lower your standards. As long as your child is physically well and not losing significant weight, try your hardest to trust that they will broaden their food repertoire in their own time.
And the key to supporting them with this is the way you respond:
>>> Never force or coerce them to eat something, I promise you, it just doesn’t work for the long-term.
>>> Respect their individual differences and likes and dislikes. It’s okay not to like everything, and some children (and adults) are just not that bothered about food or variety.
>>> Cultivate empathy rather than frustration. I KNOW this is hard, but it can help if you view them as being genuinely scared rather than testing. New foods to them are akin to us being offered a plate of stir-fried live tarantulas. Seriously!
>>> Cautious children also have a greater need to be prepared and feel in control. So, things like having a weekly menu up so they know what to expect for dinner each night, and allowing them to serve themselves, can help a lot.
So tell me about your children – how much do you think temperament plays a part in their eating habits?
HI! I'M DR. NICOLA FARR
I'm a mama of 3 and a parenting coach specialising in picky eating and mealtime stress.
I'm passionate about inspiring parents to enjoy mealtimes & help their children develop a healthy long-term relationship with food.
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