It’s normal for toddlers to be fussy eaters, but when the behavior extends into school years it can be very hard for both parents and kids.
Australian researchers reviewed a number of studies about kids under age 10 and found a range of things that can contribute to a child’s chances of being a fussy eater. Specifically, they found that pressuring a child to eat, offering rewards for eating, and very strict parenting all negatively influence fussy eaters.
On the other hand, a more relaxed parenting style, eating together as a family, and involving a child in the preparation of food all reduced the likelihood of fussy eating. Lead researcher Laine Chilman adds, “Some of [the] preferences [of a picky eater] related to a child’s characteristics or personality, which are difficult to change, if at all. But others are external factors that could help reduce fussy eating in kids. Eating together as a family, with siblings, and having a single meal at a regular time all helped reduce food fussiness.” (EurekAlert!)