Is your kid a picky eater? If you’re trying to fix the problem by forcing the issue, you’re probably making your child’s habit of picky eating worse. A new study, published Tuesday in the journal Pediatrics, followed more than 300 parent-and-child pairs for five years.
Eating is one of the few domains kids can exert some control over. Demanding that a child eat, or restricting food, causes some of the pickiest eaters, according to the study.
- Don’t force kids to clean their plate. Don’t make them sit at the dinner table until they eat a certain amount of the food. Avoid bribing with food. It’s a natural inclination to say, ‘If you eat your green beans, you can have dessert.’ But that can backfire and create an even larger negative association with that food.
- The best time to introduce new foods is when the baby begins solid foods at six months, and then continue to offer a variety of foods throughout the formative years of toddlerhood.
- Let your infant lean in and open his mouth when he wants to eat. Don’t play airplane games – that doesn’t help.
- Expose your child to the food multiple times. Keep putting it on the dinner table.
- Let them “pick” the food at the grocery store by giving them a choice of two, and then let them help prepare it.
- If your child has developed some picky notions about what she will eat, don’t fall into the trap of making a meal for her and a meal for the rest of the family. Have something nutritious she can eat on the table, and then let it be.