Dinner time is approaching and you’re dreading it. You might be asking yourself if you should serve your child what the rest of the family is eating and deal with the struggle or just prepare the mac & cheese you know your child will eat.
When you have a picky eater mealtime can be stressful for parents and children. Here are some practical strategies for how to cope with a child who is a picky eater.
Don’t label the child as “picky”
I know, I know I literally put the word picky eater in the title. That’s only because I know that’s a term parents will search for. So I wanted to make sure this article got in front of the right eyes.
Labeling your child as a picky eater will likely just make them feel bad. As if they are doing something wrong for not liking certain foods or being afraid to try certain foods. Labeling them may also box them in. Making them feel that picky is just how they are and how they will always be. As if not being picky isn’t an option for them.
Consistent pressure-free exposure
Being exposed to a food, in a pressure-free way, on a regular basis will help the child feel less threatened by that food. If the child feels pressured to eat something, it will likely just make the child more resistant to liking or accepting that food.
Pressure-free means no bribing, coaxing, or pushing the child to eat something.
Stay emotionally neutral
Kids are very intuitive and can tap into our emotional energy. If they feel us get excited when they try a new food or frustrated when they don’t, they will feel pressured. The goal is to stay emotionally neutral. Trying our best to at least appear as though it’s no big deal if they eat it or not. Because honestly it really is no big deal.
If you’d like to learn more about how to support your child with trying new foods check out my previous article on Raising a Diverse Eater.