Don’t do anything.
Garden, decorate fun plates and be a role model.
Check. Check. Check.
I often hear from parents who have tried everything and still see no change in their picky eaters. Because it’s been three years since I wrote my picky eating series, I thought it was time to address the topic from a different angle, one that deals with the reality of what do when things don’t get better over time.
So what started out a singular post that was way too long, has turned into a series. This series will address 5 key barriers that keep picky eating alive or simply make it last longer than necessary. Some of these stumbling blocks are obvious and others are not.
The first thing we will discuss is a child’s development and how it affects eating. It’s important for parents to see eating through the prism of their child’s development, instead of blaming themselves or their child. Having a long term view of a child’s development can be a lifesaver for parents. And appreciating the daily benefits of positive feeding practices beyond what a child eats helps a great deal too.
Next, we will get into red flags of picky eating and how to tell what’s normal and what’s not. I will build off this post with information I’ve learned about problem feeders and how parents can get help if they suspect their child has any underlying issues affecting eating.
The third post will address pressure and prompting at the family table. This can be hard to stop, especially when a child is thin and doesn’t eat much. Some parents are in the vicious cycle of “if I don’t make them eat, they won’t.” We will go deeper into why pressure backfires in picky children, especially as they get older.
Even when parents don’t think they are pressuring their children, they often show pressure in non-verbal ways. We’ll talk about how not feeling accepted for eating capabilities can color a child’s eating, self worth and the relationship between parent and child. When the feeding relationship suffers so does a child’s eating.
The last post will go into the type of food exposure a child gets. Too much? Too little? Controlled? A parent’s exposure strategy can make or break food acceptance over time so we’ll get into the specifics.
Before I get started, I want to hear from you. If you have been following this blog since my last series, what changes have you seen in your child? What is your biggest challenge when it comes to picky eating? Now’s your time to speak up.